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FG needs N1.9tr to end open defecation by 2025

By Nkechi Onyedika-Ugoeze and Njadvara Musa, Maiduguri
19 November 2021   |   3:36 am
Federal Government needs to invest about N1.9 trillion to address Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) problems and end open defecation in the country by 2025.

Open defecation

46 million Nigerians still lack access to toilets

Federal Government needs to invest about N1.9 trillion to address Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) problems and end open defecation in the country by 2025.

Meanwhile, about 46 million Nigerians still lack access to toilets and the protection they confer against diseases and possible deaths, as 32 per cent of the population in Yobe and 16 per cent in Borno states still practice open defecation.

This was disclosed by the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) at the media orientation it organised, in collaboration with the Childs Rights Bureau (CRIB) of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, yesterday, in Maiduguri, Borno State.

Dr. Clement Adams, who is in charge of UNICEF Maiduguri office, noted that the organisation had supported state governments in the North East with the construction and rehabilitation of 4,752 and 2,976 toilets respectively across Internally displaced Persons (IDP) camps and communities, adding that about 200 sites had been supported with hand pump boreholes.

Adams stated that it was more cost-effective to construct more toilets for conflict-affected people than to treat cholera outbreaks with unnecessary mortalities.

He said: “Inability to access toilets is costly and robs children of their health. When people die of cholera complications, children are sadly stripped of parental care and the most basic protection. All stakeholders must review existing mechanisms to improve access to toilets, reduce disease outbreaks and tackle malnutrition in conflict-affected children.

“Theme of the 2021 World Toilet Day, ‘Valuing Toilets’, is apt. Evidence has shown that access to toilets and water benefits people and nations, promotes the wellbeing of the workforce and reduces stunting in children. Ending open defecation helps to protect the dignity of women and reduce the incidence of Gender-Based Violence (GBV).”

Adams noted that practical steps towards ending open defecation by constructing more toilets and water sources, especially among the most vulnerable population whether in camps or host communities, need to be pursued, adding that schools, markets and other public places must not be left out.

He said: “UNICEF has built capacities of state departments and local councils to deliver safe and sustainable WASH services to communities and IDPs. It has also supported Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states to undertake rapid response to cholera outbreaks. At a time the Federal Government is working towards making the country Open Defecation-Free (ODF) through the nationwide Clean Nigeria Campaign, it is important that all states adopt this in a mission mode, to become ODF by 2025.

UNICEF WASH Manager in Maiduguri, Mamita Thakkar, said Nigeria loses about N455 billion (1.3 per cent) of her Gross Domestic Product (GDP) yearly to poor access to sanitation.