Abuja suburb where open defecation is culture
Holding her nose with her left hand while using the right hand to chase away imaginary flies I assumed, I watched as the middle age lady carefully navigated her way through the bushy footpath.
She was closely followed by two children who equally covered their noses, drawing closer to me as I was walking down the same path.
Suddenly, I was hit by the strong stench of human excreta causing me to almost throw up at the unpleasant sight that came into view. Now, I realized why the lady was holding her nose while walking up towards me. I began to mimic her earlier action as I went back the way I came.
Mrs. Edwin, popularly called Mama Favour said open defecation has become a normal sight in Tungan Wakili because most of the houses do not have toilets. “It is the practice for the locals to do so, that is why most of the tenants are left without any option but to defecate in the open and nearby bushes. This has made the whole village smelly”, she said.
She added: “most parts of this area is not clean because of the way people openly defecate and dispose refuse but it is a situation that some of us have to tolerate. We have built our own house here, so, we have nowhere to run considering the high cost of accommodation in Abuja.”
“As the sun gets hotter, the smell of human faeces increases to the extent that nobody is able to open his or her windows to get fresh air. Instead of fresh air, you only get air that is polluted.”
As a housewife who has a toilet in her house, Edwin said though many of her neighbours don’t have toilets, they have come to an agreement to defecate far from their neighbourhood but that does not mean that everyone abides by this agreement. “That is why many of the roads especially the small footpaths are littered with faeces,” she said.
According to her, “my children have already told me to use an alternative route to be taking them to school but the reason why we follow here most mornings is because it takes us to the school faster instead of turning all around to use a better road, which can lead to lateness for school.”
Tungan Wakili is a Gbagyi settlement in Dei‑dei, part of Abuja, where a lot of low-income earners reside because of the affordable accommodation rates and cheap land that can be bought and built upon. Despite an almost lack of sanitation facility in many of the houses that are given out for rent, those in search of cheap house rents living there are used to defecating in the open.
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