by Hycinth Iyereosa and Kolapo Olapoju
Lagos youths hardly give a hoot about the monthly environmental sanitation. From time immemorial, environmental sanitation has been observed across the country on the last Saturday of every month,
During the hours of observance, Nigerians are expected to clean their homes, environments and communities, but apparently, such is rarely the case any more.
While some adults seek to hold different community meetings and exchange friendly banters with neighbours and friends, others are snuggled up in bed, enjoying the long stretch of sleep period.
Meanwhile, others use the period to do laundry and carry out household chores, while only a few people engage in actual environmental sanitation.
The youths on the other hand, especially those in Lagos, view it as a leisure period where they can either sleep, share drinks, and just have fun doing one fun activity or the other.
One of the most common sanitation-period activity is ‘football playing’.
In many minor and major streets around Lagos metropolis, makeshift football posts are often constructed, as youths troop out en masse to play matches during the hours they are supposed to be cleaning their communities and observing the environmental sanitation.
In 2004, former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, championed the ‘National Environmental Sanitation Policy’, which recognised the Federal Ministries of Health, Housing and Urban Development, Water Resources, Information, Agriculture and Rural Development, Culture and Tourism; as well as External Support Agencies; the Academia; Organised Private Sector; Civil Society Organisations and the Communities, in the nation’s drive towards achieving sound Environmental Sanitation for sustainable development.
Like many other policies in Nigeria, the ‘National Environmental Sanitation Policy’ seems to have fallen by the wayside, as Nigerians forge ahead while grappling with the daily challenges of being a Nigerian, and the relevant enforcing bodies, on their part, turn a blind eye, and do every thing but their job specification, as always.