The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has called on the federal government to increase its budget for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programmes.
The chief of WASH UNICEF Nigeria, Dr Jane Bevan, made the call while delivering her keynote address at the 2023 International Conference on Environmental Law and Governance for Sustainable Development, held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta.
The conference, with the theme, “Ensuring Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for All: Principles and Strategies for Accelerating Change,” was organised by the Green and Sustainability Unit of the OOPL, in commemoration of the 2023 World Toilet Day.
The World Toilet Day is a global observation recognised annually on November 19.
Delivering her keynote address, the chief of WASH noted that sanitation was generally underfunded.
“There is a lack of investment in WASH, it is not like there isn’t money but it is the prioritisation. The WASH should be made important,” she said.
Quoting statistics, Bevan said Nigeria topped the world’s open defecation chart with 46million open defecators.
She also bemoaned the poor state of sanitation and hygiene in health care facilities and schools across the country.
The special guest of honour, Chief Mrs Bola Obasanjo, in her remark, urged Nigerians to maintain cleanliness and hygiene.
“Sanitation is very important; good water is very good for us. We all should maintain cleanliness in our hygiene because what you eat and drink represents who you are,” Obasanjo said.