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ENVIRONMENTAL HYGIENE: LASG STEPS UP CAMPAIGN TO END OPEN DEFECATION 


The Lagos State Government on Friday reiterated its determination to intensify the use of toilets and good hygiene practices in every community in Lagos. 

The Permanent Secretary Office of Environmental Services, Dr. Omobolaji Gaji made this known at the Flag-off of Clean Nigeria: “Use the Toilet” Campaign held at the Ojo Local Government, adding that the programme aims at ending open defecation in Nigeria by 2025. 


Gaji, represented by a Director in the Sanitation Service Department of the Office, Mrs. Omoyeni Balogun said the campaign is spearheaded by the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, UNICEF, some local and international partners for a holistic approach to eradicate open defecation. 


He added that the Federal Government had set up a National Secretariat for the campaign tagged: “Clean Nigeria: Use The Toilet” to drive the message through the 36 States of the Federation and Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.”Imagine our country Nigeria and Lagos State as a whole where every citizen has access to clean and safe toilet facilities. A Nation where open defecation is a thing of the past, replaced by proper sanitation habits that protect both individuals and communities from disease and contamination”, he said. 


He said in achieving this feat, there is a need for all to come together as a nation and prioritise the construction of clean and accessible toilet facilities in communities, schools and public spaces, stressing that such effort calls for educational programmes that raise awareness about the importance of proper sanitation. 


The Permanent Secretary averred that the State has been able to cover 10 Local Government Areas/Local Council Development Areas in the Use The Toilet campaign, hoping to cover the remaining 10 before the year runs out. Gaji also informed that the awareness technique was a driving tool in achieving an Open Defecation Free Lagos, saying the campaign must be people-centred with community engagement through relevant stakeholders while prioritising vulnerable and underserved communities. 


He said it is important to point out that the campaign, despite its successes, has also been confronted with some challenges ranging from no budgetary allocation to a lack of political will, stressing that there is a need for political support from Local Governments to cascade this policy to the people, who are the direct beneficiaries. 


The PS said the lack of access to clean toilets and improper disposal of waste poses significant challenges to public health and well-being and assured residents that the government is set to address the fundamental issues that affect the safety and future of the State. In his remarks, the Chairman of Ojo Local Government, 
Hon. Rasulu Olusola said the issue of open defecation is not just a matter of sanitation but a critical public health concern that affects the well-being of all communities. 


He said the clean Lagos initiative aims to raise awareness about the dangers of open defecation, promote the construction of public toilet facilities and implement rigorous hygiene practices across the local government. 


Olusola, therefore, urged all participants to join hands to ensure a cleaner, healthier and sustainable environment by instilling a culture of cleanliness beneficial to future generations.

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