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FG expresses concern over Nigeria’s poor ranking in open defecation

By Ameh Ochojila (Abuja) and Njadvara Musa (Maiduguri)
22 November 2021   |   3:55 am
The Federal Government has expressed concern that of 494 million people practicing open defecation globally, 46 million are Nigerians, which placed the nation among countries with the highest number of people involved in the act.

Open defecation

As 22 states fall below national average in WASH to save lives
The Federal Government has expressed concern that of 494 million people practicing open defecation globally, 46 million are Nigerians, which placed the nation among countries with the highest number of people involved in the act.

Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Hussein Adamu, stated this in Abuja during the commemoration of 2021 World Toilet Day and the second anniversary of the Clean Nigeria: Use The Toilet Campaign, organised by the ministry in collaboration with other stakeholders.

At the event with the theme: World Toilet Day Is Valuing Toilets, Adamu lamented that Nigeria was ranked among countries with the highest number of people involved in open defecation.

He noted that open defecation due to non-availability of sanitation facilities was linked to sanitation related diseases, poor educational outcomes and loss of productivity, adding that besides these were loss of dignity, inconvenience and violence against women and girls involved in open defecation.

Adamu, however, expressed hope for declaration of an Open Defecation Free (ODF) state before the 2022 anniversary of the clean Nigeria campaign.

He stated that to address the situation and its negative implication on national development, the ministry, in collaboration with stakeholders in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector, initiated the development of a roadmap towards making Nigeria Open Defecation Free (ODF) by 2025.

He also explained that the ministry collaborated with the Partnership for Expanded Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (PEWASH) programme, National WASH Action Plan to rejig the sector and the declaration of a state of emergency in the sector by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Minister of State for the Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Hassan Musa, stated that toilets play a crucial role in creating a strong economy, improving health and protecting people’s safety and dignity especially women and girls, who need clean and separate facilities to manage their sanitary issues.

A statement issued yesterday by the Director, Public Relations Unit of the ministry, Kenechukwu Offie, disclosed that several stakeholders including Action Against Hunger, OPS-WASH, Reckitt, Sato, UNICEF, WaterAid and other development partners attended the event.

MEANWHILE, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has revealed that 22 states have failed to reach the national average of 70% in Water Supply; Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) to save lives.
According to the Fund, about 860,000 children die each year of under-nutrition caused by inadequate WASH.

UNICEF Manager for WASH, Mamita Thakkar, stated this at a media orientation programme to mark 2021 World Toilet Day in Maiduguri, Borno State.

She said the national average failed states include Delta; Kano; Akwa Ibom; Bauchi; Plateau; Kaduna; Kogi; Adamawa; Ebonyi; Cross River and Bayelsa.

Others are Benue; Gombe; Kebbi; Sokoto and Taraba in the Northeast with the least percentage point of 36 in water supply services to households.

She said: “Only Lagos, Imo and Jigawa are in the 90 per cent bracket,” as the three states provided water supply services to their residents to prevent outbreaks of diseases in communities.