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Open defecation: Petitioners task Lagos on building public toilet at Itun Agan community

By Bertram Nwannekanma
22 November 2022   |   4:01 am
Respondents have lamented the ugly situation of Itun Agan community in Amuwo Odofin Local Council of Lagos State, where residents defecate openly.

Itun Agan community in Amuwo Odofin Local Council of Lagos State

• Lagos constructs 167 public toilets, registers 635 operators
Respondents have lamented the ugly situation of Itun Agan community in Amuwo Odofin Local Council of Lagos State, where residents defecate openly.

Itun Agan community is a riverine settlement of over 10,000 residents.

Separated from the Apapa Port by the Lagos Lagoon, this 100-year-old community grapples with open defecation and its negative effects due to absence of public toilets.

Residents, whether old, pregnant or ill, have to climb wooden boats to be able to defecate openly inside the lagoon.

Not only is open defecation inside the lagoon done in the full glare of onlookers, which could expose residents to dangers of tripping and falling while climbing the boats, it also assaults innocent bystanders’ sense of sight, generates offensive odor in the community, and poses a grave danger to the aquatic animals consuming human feces day in, day out.

Already, 111 out of 200 respondents have signed a petition by a citizen, John Ogunsemore calling on Executive Chairman of Amuwo Odofin council,  Valentine Buraimoh, to commit him  to building a public toilet at Itun Agan community.

The petition is poised to change the narrative, especially as the state joined the globe to celebrate the world toilet day.

MEANWHILE, the state government of the state has said that it has constructed over167 public toilets in designated areas and registered over 635 public toilet operators as part of efforts to prevent open defecation.

Speaking at 2022 World Toilet Day, celebrations held at the Lagos Island Local Council Secretariat, Permanent Secretary Office of Environmental Services, Dr. Tajudeen Gaji, said the state is determined to end open defecation and other sanitation challenges.

He said part of the measures was the construction of new toilets at various strategic locations such as motor parks, markets and densely populated areas across the state.

The PS represented by the Deputy Director, Sanitation Services, Mrs. Janet Balogun said the theme: “Sanitation and Groundwater: Making the Invisible Visible” was a clarion call on all stakeholders to prioritise hygiene as it is the cheapest method to combat the spread of diseases and control all environmental crisis.

He maintained that groundwater is a vital resource that provides almost half of all drinking water worldwide, saying that about 40 per cent of water is for irrigated agriculture and about 1/3 water required for industry.

He said Nigeria presently occupy the topmost level in the ladder of open defecation, adding that to combat the menace President Muhammadu Buhari declared a State of Emergency on Open Defecation in the country as contained in the Executive Order 009 titled: The Open Defecation – Free Nigeria by 2025 and other related matters.

He said: “The declaration is expected to be followed by actions from each state to domesticate the Order and plan towards its application and sustenance to achieve Open Defecation Free status by 2025.

“Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo – Olu took the lead role and set the pace for others to emulate by signing an Executive Order titled: Enforcement of Law and Order in Respect of Traffic and Sanitation Matters.

“The essence of the Executive Order is to restore stability and accountability to all citizens to become active stakeholders in bringing necessary changes to transform Lagos to the desired state.

“The state also developed a Resilience Strategy Document consisting of three Pillars, 10 Goals and 31 Initiatives to make improving access to clean water and sanitation a priority as stated in Goal 2, Initiative 1 of the document.

“The World Toilet Organisation (WTO), a non-profit organisation established on November 19, 2001 with focus on breaking the silence on the sanitation crises and membership across 53 countries started the World Toilet Day celebration every November 19. It was thereafter adopted for global observance by the United Nations since 2013.”

He said the World Toilet Day commemoration is about raising awareness and taking actions to tackle the global sanitation crisis and achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6: Water and Sanitation for all by 2030.

He added that WTO organises the World Toilet Summit (WTS) annually on the sideline of the World Toilet Day geared towards mobilising key Sector Players, NGOs and high-level decision makers to bring the issue of open defecation to greater public focus.

Earlier, Chairman, Lagos Island council, represented by his vice, Hon. Rosul Esinlokun said the state needs to continuously address the issue of toilets and beam the searchlight on sanitation.

He added that the toilet campaign is part of the state’s efforts to fast-track the Sustainable Development Goal for water and Sanitation by 2030, stressing that the state cannot afford any fatality that could be caused by preventable water and sanitation related diseases.