Tag Archives: Nigeria

‘Nigeria loses N455bn yearly to poor sanitation’

November 22, 2011 – UNITED Nations Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF) chief, water, sanitation, and hygiene section, Mr Vinod Alkari, has revealed that, Nigeria loses N455 billion annually or 1.3 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) due to poor sanitation.

Similarly, he added that, 33 million people defecate in the open while only a third of the country’s population have access to improved sanitation, with high morbidity and mortality as direct consequences.

UNICEF chief, Alkari, stated this on Monday at the opening ceremony of the third national roundtable conference on Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) in Nigeria, held in Katsina State.

Alkari, represented by Mr Bisi Agberemi, explained that, due to sanitation related diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery and typhoid, 728 deaths were recorded from January to November, this year in 197 local government areas in 25 states in the country.

According to him, improving the disposal of human excreta and stopping open defecation can drastically reduce the disease burden caused by sanitation related diseases and contribute to economic transformation of the country.

The UNICEF chief, who expressed his organisation’s commitment to sanitation development, said “UNICEF will continue to partner with relevant stakeholders to implement other high impact and cost effective interventions to reduce sanitation related diseases.”

He, however, commended the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Katsina State government and the National Task Group on Sanitation for organising the conference and hoped that, participants would make positive contributions to achieve the set targets for sanitation in the country.

Source-Nigerian Tribune

The Toilet Named Nigeria

Okey Ndibe. Photo: Trinity CollegeIn his latest column, government critic and Professor of Creative Writing at Trinity College (USA) Okey Ndibe, voices his disgust at the practice of open defecation in his homeland Nigeria.

If you want to gauge how badly Nigerians have been animalized, then pay attention to how, and where, many of them defecate. Just recently, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported that 33 million Nigerians have no access to decent toilets. As a consequence, said the report, these citizens of Africa’s most populous nation answer the call of nature in the open.

Is it really only 33 million Nigerians? One is afraid that here’s one occasion when statisticians have pegged the figure too low. Nigeria – as I wrote three years ago – may be described as one vast toilet. Anybody who has traveled from Lagos to Onitsha by road knows that there isn’t one single rest area with toilet facilities along the route. At stops in Ore or Benin City, pressed passengers must hurry off into the brushes, gingerly skating around others’ feces, in order to relieve themselves.

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Unilever Nigeria presents reformulated Lifebuoy

April 13, 2011 – It was an experience like no other in Lagos recently when Unilever Nigeria Plc, a leading player in the Fast Moving Consumer Good (FCMG) industry launched its new advanced Lifebuoy health soap into the market amidst fanfare.

In his remarks during the consumer launch, the Managing Director Mr. Thabo Mabe, said that the decision to launch Lifebuoy into the Nigerian market was the company’s desire to offer consumers world-class health protection and to help reduce the child mortality rate caused by germs and diseases.

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Just building a million latrines won’t solve Africa’s sanitation crisis

Empowering local communities to solve their own problems is the best way to improve health across the continent

The deadline for the world to meet its millennium development goals is now only four years away, yet in sub-Saharan Africa, there are still 570 million people without adequate sanitation, and it will be another 200 years before just half of the population of this region have access to a safe, private toilet.

In Nigeria where I live – alongside one-fifth of the continent’s population – sanitation coverage stands at just 32%.

And while we wait for the pundits, politicians and policymakers to do something about this, our children die at the rate of 4,000 a day. That’s the equivalent of one child dying in the time it takes to read this paragraph.

I have seen many technologies designed to solve our problems parachuted into Nigeria. Some work, most don’t. I am continually amazed at the products thrust at us and the astonishment that then follows when something that we have had no consultation on fails to work in our local context. The lesson should be simple: know the area, know the people.

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Nigeria: From Waste to Wealth

INITIALLY when many of them ventured into the job, they did it with all enthusiasm believing they had gotten a means of livelihood. Somehow midway, they became agents for armed robbers. And for many years, their actions have ruined families.

The story is simple.

As cart pushers, local name for refuse collectors, moved from house to house collecting disused items, they became familiar with their customers, their movements and their surroundings. With these, they sold information to underworld, whose members in turn targeted homes, attacked the residents and stole anything they could.

Anybody who refused to cooperate was either maimed or killed.

But these situations changed in 2008 with the organised private investors fully incorporated into solid waste collection through PSP by the Lagos State Government.

With this, ‘cart pushing’ business becomes illegal and patronising pushers is at patrons’ risk across the state.

Two years on, that single policy designs to complement the efforts of the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), an agency in charge of solid waste management in the state, is today having a positive impact on peoples’ daily lives.

Now, 400 private firms are so far licensed by the government with about 15, 000 people gainfully engaged under the scheme. Nine thousands (9,000) of these were until recently unemployed. The rest used to be cart pushers.

They include truck drivers and their assistants, supervisors, office/account clerks, waste loaders and highway sweepers.

Each worker is paid a monthly salary ranging from N10, 000 to N40, 000 depending on the company and the type of duties.

Mr. Adelakun Joel, 28, is one of those enjoying his new work.

A supervisor with one of the firms, which he prefers not to be named, Adelakun says he lived at the mercy of good spirited people before joining his current place of work.

Though Adelakun’s income just as his colleagues is meagre, he is keeping part of it aside to enable him sponsor his part time studies in the university in the near future.

Similarly, Mama Rukayat as she prefers to be addressed is among the sweepers along Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway at Abule-Egba area of Lagos.

She gets to work as early as 6.00am and sweeps alongside her colleagues an allocated portion in an interval of three hours and then closes for the day latest by 3.00pm.

The mother of two says the little income she earns enables her contributes to family’s welfare.

And as far as I know, she says in Yoruba, every other colleague does likewise.

From another angle, scavengers, who comb landfill sites to pick such items as metal, plastics, bottles, nylon, and papers, are now making more money.

The scheme, has enabled them to get large volume of needed items at one location, which they sell to middlemen, who in turn sell to traders and recycling factories.

This reporter observes at both Abule-Egba and Olusosun-Ojota landfill sites in Alimosho and Ikeja local government areas, respectively, the presence of many scavengers in possession of bags where they stored these items according to their kinds.

Read more – http://allafrica.com/stories/201005110833.html

Nigeria: stakeholders call for adoption of CLTS

There are new calls for the adoption of the Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach by all the 36 States and the FCT [Federal Capital Territory] for the promotion of sanitation and attainment of the MDG target for Sanitation in Nigeria.

A recent workshop [called for] the establishment of a CLTS Technical Advisory Committee drawn from the National Task Group on Sanitation, States and LGAs [Local Government Areas] for further development of the approach to respond to the peculiar challenges of Nigeria. The communiqué said that strengthening the capacities of WASHCOM [Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Committees] and natural leaders identified to support their communities to ODF (Open Defecation Free) status and also facilitate CLTS in neighboring communities has the potential of supporting the scaling up of CLTS in Nigeria.

The communiqué further said that there must be harmonized monitoring tools for CLTS at all levels to enhance information and experience sharing, adoption of the Draft Guidelines for Certification of Open Defecation Free (ODF) and Total Sanitation Community by all states and the FCT as minimum benchmark for the Certification process of Communities, ensuring the involvement of all relevant stakeholders like Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) and NYSC [National Youth Service Corps] in the implementation of CLTS in Nigeria; as demonstrated in Osun State where the involvement of the NYSC assisted in successfully scaling up CLTS in the State as well as accentuate evidence-based advocacy at all levels of Government for political will and support.

Lastly, the communiqué said that UNICEF must intensify liaison with the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Millennium Development Goals (MDG Office) to advocate for MDG funds for scaling up CLTS in Nigeria as well as develop capacity building of the National Water Resource Institute to organize regular and customized short courses on CLTS towards building a critical mass of practitioners for scaling up CLTS in the country.

Read more about CLTS in Nigeria

Source: Benjamin Auta, Daily Trust / allAfrica.com, 30 Dec 2009

30 December 2009

Nigeria, Lagos State: Govt approves 100 solar-powered toilets for communities

Lagos State Government [...] unveiled one solar-powered toilet project recently constructed for the use of its residents living in Lekki.

The government also approved more than 100 of the same projects for rural communities across the state.

Speaking during an inspection tour, Commissioner for Rural Development, Prince Lanre Balogun, explained that the state government chose the projects because most people in Lagos communities “are defecating the environment because they do not have toilets.”

He added that the lack of toilet facilities in different Lagos communities informed the state government’s decision to build the communal toilet powered by solar energy to serve the community. He said: “In this area, people defecate in the open environment, this is bad. These solar-powered toilets, if properly maintained, could last for 25 years. It is of the same standard you can get anywhere in the world.”

Source: Gboyega Akinsanmi, This Day / allAfrica.com, 10 Sep 2009

Lagos —

Nigeria: Katsina Campaigns Against Open Defecation

8 September 2009

Katsina — Katsina State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA) has this week launched a triggering of “disgust and shame” campaign to fifty five communities to fight an indiscriminate and open defecation habits and scale up sanitation and hygiene delivery in the rural areas.

Executive Director of the agency, Abubakar Gege, who flagged off the program in selected communities in Bakori local government area of the state, said the campaign which covers nine selected local governments is aimed at sensitizing communities about the associated dangers of open defecation and the importance of household cleaning among others. Represented by the agency’s desk officer in collaboration with United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF), Aminu Dayyabu Safana said the campaign being conducted with other non governmental organisations (NGOs) is geared towards the certification of those communities as open defecation free (ODF) by 2010, under the national year of sanitation action plan. Aminu Dayyabu said the triggering concept allow communities to take charge of their environment under the community led total sanitation(CLTS) to ensure total elimination of OD practices, full coverage of latrine usage, increased hygiene and sanitation activities and reduction of sanitation related diseases amongst communities.

He commended the state government for the creation of facilitating wash departments in the local governments and ensuring adequate funding of the project while urging the communities to ensure household cleaning and hand washing at critical periods after defecation and before eating.

Source – http://allafrica.com/stories/200909090253.html

Nigeria: Cities And Solid Wastes

Austin Nwangwu, 8 June 2009

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Opinion

All cities in Nigeria are presently fighting a losing battle against municipal solid wastes. This is no hyperbole and can easily be confirmed. It is as true for the Eastern states of Nigeria as for the West.

It is also a common feature in the North as it is in the South. Wherever one goes the storyline is the same – a daunting souvenir of open refuse dumps, sometimes mountains of them, displayed in odious visual ads. Cynical adverts of what we keep accumulating but do not need, assaulting the sight, doing their damned best to portray us as what we are: a stylish population living in slums; a fashion-conscious people having pigsties for homes; modern people in love with squalor!

Perhaps nothing captures the paradox of Nigeria’s romance with modernity as the way we have managed our solid waste. Whatever our governments claim to be doing about this festering sore ends up as expendable rhetoric. Simply put, we have failed woefully in keeping our cities clean, and have added to the long list of our management failures, the problem of solid wastes. As usual, the implications are neither well understood nor sufficiently appreciated at the policy-making levels of governance. An exception has to be made at this juncture for two cities, Calabar and Abuja, which have commendably become exceptions to the rule.

The vivid mementos of failure all over Nigeria cannot be missed. Failure in service delivery. Failure in managing even the most routine things, including our episodic success in sports. The failure in managing the wastes we generate, however, ranks as perhaps the most scathing.

There is, without a shred of doubt, systemic failure in waste management, with morbid consequences gnawing away at our public health status, aesthetics, self-worth and individual well-being. It appears that most governments and regulators in Nigeria see issues of waste generation and safe disposal as intractable. Yet what is obvious is a refusal to adopt commonsensical measures to address the root cause with a management-driven mindset. It is mostly a failure to understand what it takes to address the problem – efficient collection and safe disposal mechanisms. And, of course, commensurate fiscal deployment is imperative. At present it would seem that most governments see expenditure on refuse management as wasted. Without realizing it is a core index of performance for any administration, comparable to any other. And one that yields multilateral dividends.

Waste dumping and accumulation are common features of urban Nigeria, mostly because of attitudinal challenges. Exacerbated by our penchant for confronting first-rate problems, with a second-rate solutions. Many of our decision-makers see waste management as a dispensable option, not deserving of extra effort or focus. Yet, as a scorecard for any administration, it is second to none, as the result is there for all to see. It is one area where success is as glaring as failure. And there is no middle course!

A sanitary environment is desirable and will be easily appreciated by everyone – residents, visitors and tourists alike. And even an obstinate public will cooperate through source-reduction and sanitation tariffs when the governments begin to perform.

For years now, many nations of the world have adopted the integrated waste management approach to great effect. Waste processing has long become an economic endeavour in its own right, through the concept of waste-to-wealth, as solid wastes now become raw materials for industrial production. Biodegradable components are composted to become organic fertilizer and soil amendment. The non-biodegradable parts are recycled in processes of resource recovery. Sensitive solid wastes such as medical wastes are incinerated to safer-to-handle ashen components. Even hazardous fractions are compounded or packaged for safe disposal in well-engineered sanitary landfills. In some of the more modern approaches, solid wastes go through a special kind of incineration that yields electricity through a series of energy conversion processes.

These processes became possible because someone somewhere in societies that value human health, comfort and environmental quality invested time and resources to address waste management. And governments cooperated through grants and funding for research. It is obvious that we are loathsome about advancing research and intellectual rigour, which is why we remain a consuming nation, a copycat nation, grossly dependent on the more proactive and pragmatic economies for even the most basic needs. One then wonders why we prevaricate over adopting management approaches that have been successful in yielding great mileage in the environment sector everywhere else. Approaches that have the potential to conclusively address some of the core areas in which we have continued to score poorly – urban sanitation and employment, for example?

If this attitude does not bespeak laziness, then it must demonstrate the kind of intellectual dolefulness that puts to question the mental health of our policy makers and of those who claim to deliver democracy dividends, long since known to be illusory.

It bears repetition to insist that we have refused to copy, once again, in an area that adds value to society, putting to the fore, for the umpteenth time, our ill-concealed challenge of prioritization. For many governments, it is more hip to build modern estates, all because there are huge contracts to sign, with their pecuniary incentives. And, predictably, most of them become slums soon after, on account of poor waste management components in planning and execution. It is on record that most developments even in today’s Nigeria are executed without the statutory environmental evaluations. Which puts their sustainability in great jeopardy soon after.

One then begins to wonder what the regulators such as the Federal Ministry of Environment and the state equivalents are doing as our environment continues to experience accelerated degradation.

The answer is simple enough. It is found in the motive of those who award contracts. Their interests wane once they cut their deal. They shift their gaze to the next contract to reap from, rather than bother about the fate of previous ones. This level of neglect is boldly written on subsequent phases of project cycles: construction, commissioning, operation and abandonment. Only the contract signing phase matters. The scant regard given to commissioning is only cursory. To score political points, period!Other phases elicit no interest.

To be sure, no long-term development planning not fathomed with a full complement of environmental conservation principles will succeed. We, therefore, obviously labour in vain over the MDGs 2015, Vision 2020 and the Seven-Point Agenda. They all fly in the face of logic and common sense, because they are not founded on sound environmental frameworks.

It would appear that the many warnings about global warming and climate change are yet to hit home here. For most Nigerians, they are merely far-fetched fantasies of the developed world. Yet the impacts are becoming incrementally recognizable companions on these shores. This might be difficult to make out, though true: a modern solid waste management approach is a key way to mitigate their dire consequences. If only our governments will become more discerning!

Source – Daily Independent

Nigeria – Lagos raises the stake with modern public toilets

When the commercial bus took off from Oshodi bound for Ikorodu, the passengers obviously looked forward to a smooth, uneventful ride as they happily engaged themselves in current affairs discussion that sometimes bordered on the humorous prompting occasional laughter.

The driver also heightened the happy mood by playing an Igbo music which the two passengers sitting with him in the front chorused danced to with a lot of enthusiasm. However, the bus was still some distance from Ojota when one of the passengers cried out about being pressed and needed to ease herself urgently as it was evident she could not hold on till she got home.

After having tried to manage situation to no avail the female passenger had screamed in Yoruba: “Driver! Driver! Mo fe ya’gbe” (Driver! pack, pack, I want to defecate).

But the driver had surprisingly ignored her, erroneously believing that there was no cause for alarm. In fact, all he could offer by way of a response was: “E mu mora ke, E sa kii se omode, ee ni pe de ibi ti enlo” (Be patient a little, after all you are not a baby and you will soon get to your destination).

The driver apparently underestimated the woman’s desperation and the penalty for this was not long in coming. Before anyone could say: “Driver, please stop for her, the woman suddenly found herself defecating on her body. No one needed to tell the driver to stop at this point.

The accompanying stench was so overpowering that it almost choked the passengers who immediately scrambled out of the bus as soon as it made a hasty stop. The interrupted journey only resumed after the bus had been thoroughly cleaned up.

But if feelers from the Lagos State government is anything to go by, this type of situation may soon be a thing of the past in the Centre of Excellence as the Ministry of Environment has embarked upon the construction of a modern toilet facilities in some strategic areas of the state.

The idea according to officials of the Ministry is part of activities to ensure cleanliness in all ramifications and to make Lagos a mega city. When Vanguard Metro went to town last Thursday to see how far the government has gone in this regard, it was seen that some of them have already been roofed and plastered while works have just began on others.

These public toilets can be found in some choice locations in the State such as Dopemu Under bridge, Obanikoro, Toyota and Ijesha Bus-stops, among others. Each of these buildings comprise ten toilets for ladies and gents complete with water closet (WC) facilities. A green signboard was strategically placed in front of the toilets which read: “LAGOS STATE MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT: A proposed site for Modern Public Toilet. Keep Lagos clean or leave. Eko oni baje o”.

Read More – Vanguard Online