Open defecation poses environmental crisis in Oshodi-Isolo
• Residents, motorists decry lack of public toilets
There are concerns over inadequate public toilet facilities and sanitation in several parts of Lagos. It is not uncommon to see residents defecate in open spaces as nature calls.
In Oshodi, home of the $70 million Transport Interchange and arguably, busiest ports of call in Nigeria, the situation is getting worse as there are a limited number of public toilets to cater for thousands of commuters on transit.
Expectations are that a place like Oshodi should have several quality public toilets.
But that is not the case as open defecation is becoming the norm.
This act is widespread from Isolo stretching to Oshodi/Apapa Expressway to Oshodi/Agege Motor Road and Oshodi Market, including the railway line.
The perpetrators include tanker drivers, touts, motor park boys and traders as these sets of people are always around the area on daily basis.
There is only one commercial public toilet within reach that serves thousands of commuters, travellers and traders.
Commercial bus drivers and residents, who spoke with The Guardian said indiscriminate disposal of faeces has become more worrisome in the area.
The situation, they said, is now so bad as disposable plastic plates are used to defecate. Even the railway project along Oshodi/Agege Motor Road axis is not spared. All parts of the rails are filled with faeces. Yet people eat and sleep there. Whenever it rains, passersby navigate through the flood mixed with faeces as they head for their destinations. The beautifully built gutters have become septic tanks.
A commercial bus driver at Oshodi Mr. Olakun Bakare said the government should build more public toilets to reduce open defecation.
“We are going through a difficult time and open defecation is our major problem. You are talking about faeces, have you asked us how we sleep and eat on this road? We eat, defecate and sleep here.
We must eat here because we cannot go back to our homes as our home is very far.
“If we say we want to go to the toilet, where do we go? How many public toilets have you seen along the road? ” Another driver Musa Lekan said: “There are faeces everywhere because people have to eat and if they eat, they must defecate. When you are permanently on the road and there are no public toilets, where else do you defecate except on the road or nearby bush? We cannot trek back to our homes because it is far.
At the Oshodi Bus Terminal some travellers who also decried the environmental condition, one of them, Mrs. Funke Lawal said: “Many people in this area no longer have shame as they defecate openly.
Government should provide more toilet facilities in the park and make them free. Many people cannot come and queue for just one toilet compartment but if there are many and strategically located at different locations here, I believe more people will use the toilets,” she said.