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Reps, environment ministry move to tackle open defecation.       

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.48m Nigerians have no toilet facilities -Minister

.As Reps grill minister on Ajaokuta Steel concessioning

Jonas Ezieke, Abuja

 

The House of Representatives Committee on Environment and some relevant House Committees and other key stakeholders including the Federal Ministry of Environment have decried the prevalence of open defecation by many Nigerians and foreigners residing in Nigeria describing it as a hazardous environmental practice that must be stopped at all cost.

 

They condemned the practice and called on all the relevant stakeholders including National Environmental Standards Regulatory and Enforcement Agency NESREA to live to its responsibility of enforcement of environmental safety laws on such harmful practices.

 

The Speaker of the House Hon Abbas Tajudeen and the Chairman of the House Committee on Environment Hon.Julius Pondi spoke at the public hearing on Thursday with the theme: ‘The Need to End Open Defecation And Increase the  Number of Toilets Annually’ at the National Assembly.

 

The speaker stated that the growing incidences of open defecation is posing grave heath risks to the nation’s citizens and is also undermining the dignity  and quality of life of the people of the country.

 

 

He further stated that as a representative of the people, he firmly believes that citizens should have good toilet facilities and and also be able to maintain a high level of personal hiegene.

 

Also speaking in a remark, Chairman of the House Committee on Environment Hon.Julius Pondi stated that the House in its referral to the Committee has urged the governments at all levels and private individuals to embark on agressive rural water projects that would ensure that each community is provided water and functioning toilet facilities.

 

He also stated that the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture and other relevant agencies should give proper sensitization on open defecation in the communities for heigene and safety.

 

The Minsiter of State for Environment Mr Ishaq Adekunle Salako stated that the issue of eradication of open defecation is one one of the core mandate of the Ministry.

 

He decried the prevalence of open defecation noting that a report by UNICEF has said that 48 million Nigerian citizens do not have access to toilet facilities and are involved in the harmful environmental practice.

 

He added that Federal Ministry of Environment is had marshalled out an environmental waste management system through the Environmental Control Department of the Ministry.

 

The Minister further assured that House that the ministry is committed ending the menace of open defecation in 2025 adding that it is constructing toilets accoss the states and local government councils across the federation.

 

He said: “We are aware that as regulators the services of Environmental Health Officers have not been effectively utilized. There is need for the re-introduction of Sanitary Inspectors at the local government councils.

 

“Nigeria has only one year to end open defecation. Our approach must therefore change to open sensitization on construction of public toilets. We must insist that we must biuld toilets in our homes”

 

The Chairman of the House Committee Hon Pondi and the other lawmaker who grilled the invited stakeholders on the issue later assured that the inputs garnered by the invited government agencies and other entities would help to provide the legal framework for waste disposal and management in the country.

 

.As Reps grill minister on Ajaokuta Steel concessioning

 

The House of Representatives Committee on Steel Development has grilled the Minister of Steel Development Mr Dele Alake on the plans by the Federal Government to concession the Ajaokuta Iron and Steel Complex to Global Steel of Russia and any other foreign concern.

 

Chairman of the House Committee on Steel Development Hon Dr Zainab Gimba and other members of the Committee had grilled the Minister and other top officials of the ministry on the planned concessioning of the Steel Complex at the National Assembly on Thursday.

 

The Committee chairman in an opening remarks at the investigative hearing stated that there are a lot of administrative lapses and reported misappropriation of funds on the part of the Ministry in overseeing the Ajaokuta Iron and Steel Complex.

 

The lawmaker also raised issues with the composition of the National Steel Council saying that the House Committee had been inundated with reports about the activities of the council

 

On the planned concessioning of the Ajaokuta Iron and Steel Complex, she stayed that the House Committee is worried that there are reports that some Russians and other foreigners are  bidding for the concessioning of the facility.

 

She said that the issue of concessioning of the Iron and Steel Complex and other issues in the running of the national asset is what the House Committee wants the Minister and his officials to address.

 

In his presentation, the Minister of Steel Development Mr Dele Alake stated that there is an on-going discussion on the concessioning of the Ajaokuta Iron and Steel Complex adding that the discussion with the various parties is still at an early stage.

 

He further stated that the the Ministry of Steel Development is looking at the possibility of concessioning of the facility adding to hat a final decision had not be taken on it.

 

He also stated that the national asset was built in 1979 and work was stopped on the facility in 1983 even as he said that successive federal administrations have been making frantic efforts to fix the facility

 

He also said that the president’s approval is required before the facility can be concessioned to any local or foreign concern adding that there are some maintenance and legal issues that needed to be resolved before the full concessioning can be effectively done.

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