The Senate has moved to end the negative trend of open urination and defecation in the country with the consideration of a bill for an Act to provide for the establishment of a Clean Nigeria Agency.
The bill which scaled through the second reading on Wednesday was sponsored by Senator Clifford Ordia representing Edo Central senatorial district in the National Assembly.
Leading the debate on the general principles of the bill, Senator Ordia said open defecation poses serious economic, social, health hazards effects on the people, community and the environment.
According to the lawmaker, the economy is not spared from the scourging effect of open defecation as Nigeria loses over #455 billion or US$ 3 billion annually due to poor sanitation.
The Senator also noted that apart from the fact that open defecation is not only a social stigma it is also a leading factor contributing to violence against young girls and young married women. He pointed out that, findings from a research conducted by Water Aid in selected slums in Lagos state, revealed that a quarter of women, defecatlng in the Open, had either first or second hand experience of harassment, a threat of violence or actual assault in the previous 12 months and over two-thirds of them felt unsafe using a shared or community toilet in a public place because of fears of contacting vaginal candidiasis pepularly known as “toilet disease”.
He said evidence shows that one of the major reasons for iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) among adolescent girls and young mothers is as result of worm infestation that is attributed to open defecation and also the anemic conditions suffered by mothers during pregnancy.
Senator Ordia also posited that, “while considering the above negative impacts and the socio-economic opportunities of the shameful practice of urinating and defecating in the open, there is no gain saying that providing a legal frame work, and creating an Agency in the form of a subsidiary legislation, to prohibit open urination and defecation is not only eminent but long overdue. This Bill when passed into law will establish and empower the Clean Nigeria Agency, to enforce the penalties and sanctions prescribed by this bill.
While supporting the passage of the bill, Senator Emmauel Bwahca called for a practical action to solve the problem of open urination and defecation in the country.
The bill after scaling through the second reading was referred by President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, to the Committee On Water Resource.
The Committee was given four (4) weeks to report back to the Senate.
Meanwhile, the Senate has adjourned plenary for the Easter break to resume plenary on Tuesday, 13th of April 2021.