By; TINA PHINEAS, Yola
It has been disclosed that about 47 million Nigerian practice open defecation, with the ranking of Nigeria as the second among countries that practice open defecation globally.
Bioye Ogunjobi, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) specialist, made this disclosure Wednesday, at a two day media dialogue on sanitation with the theme ” Clean Nigeria:Use the Toilet ” at Tahir Palace Hotel Kano, organised by the Child Rights Information Bureau (CRIB) of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture and UNICEF.
According to him, out of 47 million Nigerians who practice open defecation, 16 million live in the north central with 53.9%, followed by the South west which has 28.8% and the South east 22.4%.
Ogunjobi stated further that the North east has 21.8%, South south 17.9% and the North west 10.3% respectively.
He pointed out that the clean Nigeria campaign is design by UNICEF to ensure that Nigeria is clean through proper use of toilets.
“UNICEF is working with the European Union, DFID and other partners to ensure that Nigerians use the toilets and stop open defection, increase access to improved sanitation especially in the rural areas”, Ogunjobi stated.
He also urged the media to help sensitized the public on the implication of open defecation so as to bring about positive attitudinal and behavioural change.
Earlier, Olumide Osanyipeju, Deputy Director, Head of CRIB, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture said the Federal Ministry of Water Resources with support from UNICEF, in partnership with Inter-Ministerial Agencies, Civil Society Partners, the Private Sector are currently leading the Open Defecation Free ODF campaign to end open defecation in the country by 2025, and achieve universal access to safely manage sanitation by 2030.
“Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet” campaign is one of the most ambitious behaviour-change campaigns in Nigeria with a strong citizen / public engagement component”.
“Sanitation is essential to the survival and development of children, It can reduce the severity and impact of malnutrition, It can also help in reducing the spread of intestinal worms, as well as promoting dignity and boosting safety, particularly among women and children”, he stated.
Osanyipeju noted that open defecation perpetuates a vicious cycle of disease and poverty, it is incredibly dangerous, as contact with human waste can cause diseases such as cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, polio, diarrhoea, worm infestation and under nutrition, stressing the need to double efforts in order to end open defecation by 2030.