Physically challenged students were among people who queued in Wuse Market, Abuja, yesterday urging government to tackle the national sanitation and water crises.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the campaign for toilets is aimed at joining the record-breaking, global Guinness World Record in terms of number of those demanding for toilets globally.
It also aims at calling on World leaders to take action on sanitation and water issues as they prepare for the first ever high level meeting on sanitation and water in Washington in April.
The queue, which is done simultaneously with other coalition groups in 70 countries globally, is expected to attract tens of thousands of people to draw attention to the fact that 4,000 children die every day because of lack of access to sanitation facilities and safe drinking water.
Ms Juanita During, the Head Governance, WaterAid Nigeria, who spoke at the campaign, said that the queue was organised to commemorate the World Water Day with the theme “Clean water for the healthy World”.
During said the coalition of civil societies led by End Water Poverty, Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, WaterAid, Municipal Youth Vanguard and others had come together to draw the attention of the world leaders to the plight of people without toilets in Nigeria.
She said some 2.6 million people around the World did not have access to safe water and latrines because we understand that the issue of water and sanitation and hygiene must come together as a package.
“If we talk about water quality, safe water for domestic use and we do not talk of basic sanitation, we do not talk about proper hygiene practices at the end of the day, we will not be able to achieve the desired outcome.
“They are diseases that could be transmitted due to lack of proper sanitation and when people do not have proper hygiene information on the use of toilet they will resort to open defecation.
“Open defecation can easily contaminate the environment, when rain falls and flood washes the defecation into water sources and people drink the water without knowing that the water is contaminated,’’ she said.
According to her, at the end of the exercise millions of people will have queued and registered their support for their right to dignity because sanitation and hygiene are vital components for sustainable health outcome.
She said that the campaign in Nigeria was aimed at lobbying government to invest more funds and make strong plans to get safe water and basic sanitation to citizens.
“We want to call on government in developing countries and other international development partners to review their support by ensuring that their aid is better targeted toward the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities.
“Government should develop a national monitoring and evaluation system in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector.
“And also ensure inclusive approach to water and sanitation in Nigeria to address the needs of the most vulnerable people,” During said.
NAN reports that more than 5,000 people queued in a miniature toilet at Wuse Market, Abuja, to register their support for the need for government to provide basic sanitation facilities in public places.
The World Water Day is celebrated globally on March 22, to create awareness on the need to provide safe drinking water for all.