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FG recruits 3, 600 youths to tackle open defecation in Cross River

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The Federal Government and the United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) have concluded arrangements to recruit 3, 600 youths to end open defecation in Cross River State and the entire country.

National Coordinator of the Clean Nigeria Campaign, Chizoma Okpara, said this at the unveiling of the Clean Nigeria Campaign, noting that the aim of the project was to ensure that youths were meaningfully employed for the campaign against open defecation in parts of the country.

The collaboration between UNICEF and the Ministry of Water Resources saw the flagging off of the Clean Nigeria Campaign as well as the National youth empowerment project.

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Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, who was represented by Okpara, said the aim of the project was to mobilise the entire country to end open defecation, adding that promoters of the campaigns would rally political support to build a culture of sanitation in Nigeria.

“The Clean Nigeria Campaign is aimed at mobilising political support, resources and populace towards building a sound sanitation culture, especially towards ending open defecation,” he said.

Also speaking, Programme Manager of United Purpose, Nanpet Chukfu, said the campaign against open defecation is working in Cross River State.

He said the Federal Government with funding of the World Bank would support states in the campaign with Cross River at the forefront because its enabling environment, track record and personnel to make it succeed.

On his part, Deputy Governor of the state, Prof. Ivara Esu, who was chief launcher of the campaign, applauded UNICEF’s support in the success of the programme, saying the state values the partnership as it would enable the state and the nation to become open defecation-free by 2025.

He stressed the need to place high premium on the relationship with UNICEF, noting that the programme belongs to the council areas, adding: “So the chairmen must take responsibility for the cleanliness of their local government areas.

He said so far, the six pilot councils from Calabar up to Bekwarra should ensure that their councils remained clean at all times, as they were the selected open defecation-free areas, pointing out that only Obanliku Council Area was declared open defecation-free in 2017.

Speaking, Director General, Rural Water and Sanitation Agency (RUWATSA), Ita Ikpeme, commended UNICEF for sponsoring the project, saying with the Clean Nigeria Campaign, the state was ready to end open defecation.

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