At a side meeting with former Australian Prime Minister, Hon. Kevin Rudd, at the ongoing 74th United Nations General Assembly in New York on Wednesday, President Muhammadu Buhari said Nigeria had demonstrated political will on water and sanitation, and would soon step up advocacy on the issue.
Hon. Rudd is Global Chairman of Water and Sanitation for All.
The President said that at Nigeria’s stage of development, clean water and sanitation were very important for a big country with vast population, “as lots of diseases are water-borne. That is why we spend so much on healthcare and infrastructure.”
President Buhari recalled that a state of emergency was declared on water and sanitation in November last year, adding: “We have demonstrated the political will. We will step up with advocacy. Increased access to water for everyone is a target.”
Nigeria, the President disclosed, will have another launch in November this year, to scale up efforts on water, sanitation, and discouragement of open defecation.
Hon. Rudd said his organization supports countries to deal with challenges of clean water and sanitation.
“We value the political commitment you have to Sustainable Development Goal 6, and will do all we can to support you,” he added.
He recommended a slogan by Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi to Indian women: ‘Never marry a man, unless he can provide you with clean toilet.’
He said through personal leadership, the Indian Prime Minister had made great progress in reducing the problem of open defecation by two-thirds in five years.
“The year 2025 is your target to end the same in Nigeria. You can do it. We will support in whatever is useful and practical for you,” the former Prime Minister said.