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‘47 million Nigerians practise open defecation’

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Minister of Water Resources Nigeria Hon. Suleiman Adamu Kazaure /Getty Images for Global Citizen/AFP

The Minister of Water Resources, Mr. Suleiman Adamu has declared that about 47 million in Nigeria still practice open defecation.

The Minister said this yesterday in Ugep at the occasion of Yakurr Local Government Area, Cross River state Open Defecation Free (ODF) status under the Federal Government, European Union and United Nations Children’s Fund Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Reform Programme.   He decried the high rate of open defecation in the country saying, Nigeria is “the highest in sub-saharan Africa and a national sanitation access of 33 percent, we understand that we need to do much more if we are to eliminate open defecation and achieve 100 percent access to sanitation and hygiene in the country”.

Suleiman who was represented by the Permanent secretary, Dr. Musa Ibrahim, disclosed that his minisytry has introduced some initiative to address the situation and this include a strategy documents “Making Nigeria Open Defecation Free by 2025: A National Road Map” plus the Partnership for Expanded water, Sanitation and Hygiene (PEWASH) programme.

With the celebration yesterday, this would make it the third local government to achieve this status in the state, and Cross River is the only state in Nigeria with three ODF local government areas.

Speaking at the official celebration of the attainment of the, Chief of UNICEF Field Office, Enugu, Dr Ibrahim Conteh, expressed appreciation to Governor Ben Ayade for sustaining the cordial relationship between them in supporting and providing access to water and sanitation for the women and children of the State.

He said, “today marks another turning point in the history of Cross River State as the only State in Nigeria with three Open defecation Free (ODF) LGAs. These are Obanliku, Yakurr and Bekwara, hopefully within the next couple of weeks Boki LGA would be declared ODF. UNICEF partnership with Cross River State dated back several years, under the Water Supply Sanitation Sector Reform Programme (WSSSRP).

“The implementation of WSSSRP I & II started in 2006 in five LGAs of Cross River State, namely Yakurr, Boki, Odukpani, Obubura and Etung with Yakurr and Boki being focus for the second phase of the programme. The overall objective of the programme is to improve health and livelihoods in rural communities through provision of sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene service delivery to reduce poverty and disease burden.

“One of the most promising approaches in sanitation in the last decades has been Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS). Community-led total sanitation (CLTS) is a participatory approach that aims to achieve and sustain an open defecation free (ODF) status at the community level. CLTS employs participatory rural appraisal and is based on the belief that the learning effect is much higher if the knowledge is acquired through self-experience and self-reflection. The approach facilitates the critical analysis by the community of their own sanitation-profile, inappropriate defecation practices and the consequences, leading to collective action to become ODF. It is a community-based and -led strategy that triggers community empowerment via feelings like shame and disgust induced through observation of the defecation situation in a specific setting and its environment, which is much harder to address by health education.

On his part, Governor Ayade said open defecation contributes to many dieseases like cholera, dyrhea and many others in the country.


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