Minister Lawal Mandates Toilets in All Building Plans to Address Sanitation Crisis

Minister Lawal Mandates Toilets in All Building Plans to Address Sanitation Crisis
Malam Balarabe Lawal, Nigeria's Environment Minister

Minister Lawal Mandates Toilets in All Building Plans to Address Sanitation Crisis

In a watershed moment marking the 2023 World Toilet Day celebrations in Abuja, Malam Balarabe Lawal, Nigeria’s Environment Minister, unveiled a pivotal policy alteration.

Under the theme “Accelerating Change,” Lawal announced a sweeping mandate: every building plan across Nigeria must incorporate provisions for toilets.

This decree stands as a resolute response to combat the prevalent use of open spaces and water bodies for waste disposal, a practice echoing across the nation.

Lawal’s emphasis on this directive reflected the urgency to confront the widespread implications of inadequate sanitation, impacting public health, educational access, productivity, and the general well-being of Nigerians.

Specifically, Lawal underscored the disproportionately harsh effects on vulnerable demographics, particularly women and girls, highlighting their increased vulnerability amidst the sanitation crisis.

Lawal’s announcement went beyond rhetoric, urging state governments to adopt and implement this imperative requirement. The urgency was palpable, as Lawal’s directives sought to instigate a nationwide transformation in sanitation infrastructure.

During a candid inspection of federal government unity schools in the FCT, Lawal encountered stark deficiencies, including poorly maintained or inaccessible toilets and a shortage of clean water supply.

Lawal’s call to action echoed for schools facing similar challenges, encouraging immediate upgrades to their sanitation facilities.

However, amidst these challenges, Lawal commended Federal Government College Rubochi and Federal Government College Kwali for exemplary cleanliness standards during the World Toilet Day commemoration, showcasing pockets of excellence amidst the sanitation struggle.

Charles Ikeah, overseeing the Office of the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Environment, echoed Lawal’s urgency, emphasizing the dire global and national consequences of the sanitation crisis.

Ikeah spotlighted the staggering statistics: over 3.5 billion people globally lack access to safe toilets, with a startling 48 million Nigerians still resorting to open defecation.

Furthermore, Ikeah highlighted the sobering prevalence of diarrheal diseases, particularly among children under five, attributing these issues to the lack of accessible and adequate toilet facilities.

The Ministry of Education, represented by Mrs Hassana Mailafiya, reiterated Lawal’s call for comprehensive sanitation measures.

She underscored the imperative of fostering a collective commitment to ensure universal access to proper sanitation practices, affirming that no individual should be left behind in the pursuit of improved sanitation standards.

World Toilet Day, commemorated annually on November 19, serves as a poignant global reminder of the ongoing commitment to enhancing sanitation conditions worldwide.

For Nigeria, this mandate represents a transformative step towards rectifying the entrenched sanitation challenges by mandating the integration of toilets in all building plans.

This resolute action signals a firm commitment towards addressing the sanitation crisis and fostering a healthier, more dignified future for all Nigerians.



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