Open defecation has continued to pose serious health and environmental challenges globally. This practice affects almost 1 billion people worldwide and is said to contribute significantly to an estimated 842,000 deaths resulting from sanitation related diseases. A survey conducted by UNICEF ranks Nigeria as the African country with the highest population practicing open defecation and the second next to India globally. To tackle this and to prevent an environmental and health crisis, a state of emergency was declared in the water supply, sanitation and hygiene services (WASH) sector that led to the signing of an executive order to end open defecation by 2025. The objective is to eliminate open defecation and also ensure that SDG 6 is achieved especially in the rural areas. This paper posits that achieving an open defecation free status has and still remains a primary target for the government in Nigeria at all levels and the machinery of law be deployed as a viable tool to achieve this target. It submits that for this target to be met, there is the need to recognize the right to sanitation as one of the key ways to address sanitation issues especially open defecation. Articulating this right in a way that respects equity, human rights and environmental sustainability will effectively aid in the realization of the goal of ending open defecation by 2025.
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