The Ministries of Finance and Environment and stakeholders Monday rejected a bill seeking to create an agency to fight open urination and defecation in the country.
The Clean Nigeria Agency (Establishment) Bill was sponsored by Senator Clifford Ordia (PDP, Edo).
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The ministries and other critical stakeholders spoke at a one-day public hearing on the bill organised by the Senate Committee on Water Resources at the National Assembly, Abuja.
They said it was unnecessary to establish a new agency to fight open urination and defecation in a country with an estimated 46 million people with no access to toilet.
Senator Ordia, in his presentation, said the bill sought to make rules and issue guidelines and regulations for the construction and operations of public toilets.
He said the agency, when established, would certify public toilet facilities to be fit for use by members of the public.
He also said the agency would have powers to shut down any public place that does not meet the required standard of public toilet facility prescribed by the agency, among others.
But, Director of Legal Services, Ministry of Environment, Obayagbo Helen, said:
“Creating an agency for a fragment of one component of sanitation would mean creating more than 15 agencies for sanitation issues alone. This would mean wastage of scarce government resources.”
The Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, represented by its Assistant Director, Legal, Ate Amali, said there were agencies of government already performing roles being envisaged for the proposed agency.
President, Environmental Health Officers Association of Nigeria, Jamilu Shuaibu, said the 1999 constitution vested the local government councils with the role of maintenance and regulations of public convenience.