The Lagos State Government has issued a reassuring statement to residents, underscoring its commitment to eliminating open defecation by 2025. This pledge is part of a broader initiative aimed at addressing sanitation challenges and promoting a healthier environment in the state.
The statement, released by Mr. Adekunle Adeshina, Director of Public Affairs, emphasized the state government’s determination. Mr. Gaji Omobolaji Tajudeen, Permanent Secretary of the Office of Environmental Services, articulated this commitment while speaking at the “Use the Toilet Campaign” held at the Mainland Local Government Secretariat.
Tajudeen emphasised the importance of raising awareness about the health risks associated with open defecation. He stated, “Knowledge is the foundation upon which change is built, and by informing the citizens, they are empowered to make choices that would positively impact their lives.”
Furthermore, he highlighted that open defecation is a complex challenge with far-reaching consequences, affecting not only sanitation but also the environment, health, education, the economy, and the social fabric of society. Waterborne diseases, water source contamination, and public health threats are some dire consequences of open defecation.
Tajudeen particularly underscored the vulnerability of children, who are more prone to these diseases due to their developing immune systems. He also noted that open defecation undermines the dignity of people, especially women and girls who bear the brunt of its negative effects.
In his call to action, Tajudeen urged citizens to focus on solutions and collective efforts to combat open defecation. He stressed the urgency, determination, and unity required to tackle this issue effectively.
He affirmed the Lagos State Government’s commitment to creating a cleaner, healthier, and more prosperous environment, stating, “Let us be CHANGE AGENTS who will transform Lagos State into a model of sanitation excellence, setting an example for others to follow.”
In his vision for Lagos, Tajudeen painted a picture of a city where clean and accessible sanitation facilities are available to all, water bodies remain unpolluted, and the well-being of every resident is safeguarded. He emphasised the necessity of eradicating open defecation, framing it as an environmental imperative.
He highlighted the crucial role of infrastructure in this mission, calling for investments in building and maintaining sanitation facilities across the state. He also called upon urban planners and engineers to collaborate with the government in designing accessible and safe facilities that cater to the needs of all residents, irrespective of their background and socio-economic status.
Additionally, the statement quoted Hon. Emilagba Jubril, representing the Chairman and Vice Chairman of Mainland Local Government, as acknowledging the urgency of this campaign. Jubril emphasized that there are many rural areas, including Otumara, Idi-Agbon, Makoko, Ori-Oke, Aiyetoro, and more, in need of sanitation facilities. The Local Government is determined to partner with the private sector to construct additional toilets in these rural communities.
Jubril also highlighted the efforts of the Local Government, which has already built public toilets within the community, as part of its commitment to sustaining the campaign against open defecation.