FG Appoints European Champions League Winner, Alaba, Clean Nigeria Campaign Ambassador

 

By DAPO FALADE

The Federal Government has named the Nigerian-born football sensation, David Alaba of FC Bayern Munchen, the 2020 European Champions League winners, as a Clean Nigeria Campaign Ambassador.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who made the announcement on Thursday at a ceremony to commemorate the one year anniversary of the project, CLEAN NIGERIA, also named along with Alaba some state governors and Nollywood star, Stephanie Linus, as ambassadors.

The project is to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Number 6, aimed at clean water and sanitation for all, as well as to stop open defecation in the country.

Nigeria is ranked global number one country in open defecation, a social vice which has health implications and dignity issues as far as the Nigerian Diasporans are concerned.

The 2020 European Champions League winner, David Alaba, promised to asisit the country in achieving the SDG Number 6 by providing sets of toilets and drinkable water to schools.

Meanwhile, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has declared that the Clean Nigeria Campaign is very critical to the efforts of the Federal Government at reducing poverty and ensuring social inclusion, among others.

Professor Osinbajo, in a press release by his media aide, Laolu Akande, said aside the main goal of ending open defecation across the country, the Buhari administration is prioritising the Clean Nigeria Campaign as its success contributes to key initiatives.

The key initiatives, he said, included enhancing social inclusion; poverty reduction; business growth and entrepreneurship; greater access to quality education and affordable healthcare, among others.

Professor Osinbajo said this in his remarks delivered virtually at a ceremony organised to mark the first anniversary of Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet Campaign.

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“The success of the Clean Nigeria Campaign will contribute to some of the key priority areas of this government, which include enhancing social inclusion and poverty reduction, expanding business growth and entrepreneurship; and expanding access to quality education, affordable healthcare and productivity of Nigerians.

“We are aware that access to adequate Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services is a critical factor in the socio-economic development of any nation and contributes to human capital outcomes such as early childhood survival, health and educational attainment.

“Access to WASH services is also one of the key preventive measures in the raging global COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

Speaking on the role of the private sector in the actualisation of the objectives, Osinbajo said “the initiative of the Organised Private Sector in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (OPS-WASH), tagged ‘FLUSHIT’ which aims at promoting private sector-led innovative financial strategies in WASH, is a welcome development.”

He emphasised that “the role of the private sector is critical in building a virile sanitation economy which will drive the sustenance of the results being achieved under the Clean Nigeria Campaign.”

He also restated the commitment of the Federal Government to the success of the campaign, especially by appointing campaign ambassadors to support the process.

“In our desire to aggressively mobilise the entire country towards ending the practice of open defecation, we have identified campaign ambassadors to support the national drive towards open defecation free status,” he added.

The vice president explained that “these are citizens who have contributed to the existing successes achieved so far under the campaign or have been identified as persons of influence who can significantly advance the campaign.

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“Clean Nigeria Campaign Ambassador will be required to provide leadership in advancing the objectives of the Campaign and engage in Campaign activities as may be initiated by you or other stakeholders.”

Giving further insights about what the Federal Government is doing to sustain current efforts, he said “the Clean Nigeria Campaign is backed by Presidential Executive Order 009 which gives effect to its implementation.”

“The Executive Order provides that the National Open Defecation Free (ODF) Roadmap be put into effect towards meeting the national target of ending open defecation by 2025.

“It mandates the ‘Clean Nigeria Campaign Secretariat’, in collaboration with relevant government institutions, to ensure that all public places, including schools, hotels, fuel stations, places of worship, market places, hospitals and offices have accessible toilets within their premises.

“It also provides for the enactment of legislation, appropriate sanctions and penalties to back up the fight against open defecation while ensuring that all developmental projects include the construction of sanitation facilities as an integral part of the approval and implementation process.”

The vice president however noted that “ending open defecation is not just about access to toilets. It is about generating demand for toilets and changing people’s behaviour regarding toilet usage.

“The Clean Nigeria Campaign as a transformational and behaviour change campaign will require the contribution and commitment of everyone: government at all levels, civil society, private sector, development partners and the entire populace in building a new culture of safe sanitation.”

The campaign to end open defecation in Nigeria was launched one year ago to galvanise efforts from both public and private sectors to promote water, sanitation and hygiene in the 774 local hovernment areas across the country and so far, 33 local councils are known to be open defecation-free.

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