The Senate on Wednesday lamented that Nigeria is currently losing over N455 billion or US$3 billion annually due to poor sanitation.
The upper legislative chamber accordingly passed for second reading , a Bill seeking for establishment of the “Clean Nigeria Agency for the purpose of prohibiting open urination/defecation in order to keep Nigeria clean and disease free.
The bill sponsored by Senator Clifford Ordia ( PDP Edo Central), was referred by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, to the Senate Committee on Water Resource for further legislative work and to report back in four weeks.
Senator Ordia in his lead debate noted that open defecation poses serious economic, social and health hazards on the people, community and the environment.
He noted that despite Nigeria’s “giant posture” economic outlook, the country wears a shameful doak of being the leading nation in the world with the highest number of people practicing open urination and defecation, estimated at over 46 million people.
The practice, he said, has had a negative effect on the populace and on the economy, making it almost impossible for the country to meet the 2030 deadline of achieving goal 6 of the United Nations Sustainable development goal; which aims at
“Ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”.
The lawmaker noted that apart from the stench that emanates from open urination and defecation sites, such sites also provides a breeding ground for diseases causing organisms.
He said the country loses over N455 billion or US$3 billion annually due to poor sanitation.
“This works out to be US$20 per capital per year and constitutes 1.3% of Nigeria’s GDP (World Bank Report,2012).
“According to the same report, open defecation alone costs Nigeria over US$ 1 billion a year. The market potential of sanitation in the country is indeed very huge for both government and the private sector to take advantage of,”
The bill he added ,
“when passed into law, will establish and empower the Clean Nigeria Agency to enforce the penalties and sanctions prescribed by this bill.
“Furthermore, the bill will also empower the agency to among other things, make rules and regulations for enforcing and implementing the provisions of this Act.
“It will also issue license to private corporation for the operation of commercially owned public toilets;
“The proposed agency would also have the power to certify a public toilet facility to be fit for use by the public, as well as shut down any public place that does not meet the required recommended standard of toilet facility”,
Virtually all the Senators who contributed to debate on the bill , supported it .