By; OLADELE ADEDAYO, Ado-Ekiti
The Commissioner for Infrastructure and Public Utilities in Ekiti State, Engr Bamidele Faparusi, has disclosed that a staggering sum of N10 billion would be required to ensure that Ekiti is open defecation free.
Faparusi said the money would be needed to build toilets in public places and reticulate water from major dams to over 140 towns and villages across the state to support Water Sanitation and Hygiene(WASH) programmes.
Faparusi spoke in Ado-Ekiti on Thursday during a press conference the Ministry held in conjunction with other partners in Rural Water Sanitation sector.
Faparusi said : “What we need in Ekiti is about N10 billion to achieve Open Defecation Free status. We are approaching banks to key into our activities by way of giving soft loans to landlords to build toilets in their premises
“Government is also partnering with European Union,World Bank, UNICEF to promote water sanitation and hygiene for Ekiti to be free of opportunistic diseases”.
Faparusi added that the State government in line with the national policy on WASH will soon kick off a clean Nigeria campaign in Ekiti, where about 1.6 million people will be canvassed to join the fray against open defecation for the safety of all citizens.
Apart from open campaigns and sensitisation strategies of government to provide a buffer for WASH policy, Faparusi said Fayemi’s administration was investing hugely on Turning Around Maintenance (TAM) of Egbe, Ureje and Ero dams, with efforts to reticulate water to all homes in the State.
“The Clean Nigeria campaign is aimed at motivating the communities towards practising handwashing and being conscious of their respiratory hygiene, proper waste management, waste disposal and issues that are associated with environmental degradation .
“In line with the national sanitation campaign termed clean Nigeria,use the toilet, Dr Fayemi in October 2019 declared emergency on open defecation in Ekiti and in February, 2020, he launched roadmap on open defecation in Ekiti, which we are implementing in phases to hit the target of making Ekiti open defecation free in 2022”.
The commissioner added that a task force has been set up to enforce one- building -one -toilet policy of Fayemi led administration, with the Head of Service, Mrs. Peju Babafemi heading that of the state’s civil service.
One of the major sponsors of the programme, the Heineken foundation, a subsidiary of the Nigerian Brewery, represented by Mrs. Bukola Adeyemo, said a total of 10 million euro had been committed by the foundation to over 100 projects in WASH sector in subsaharan Africa .
“Another 5 million euro was donated to fight Covid 19 in five states in Nigeria and 2.5 million euro to some African countries to safeguard the health of the people”.
The foundation also commissioned a fixed handwashing machine to Christ’s School, Ado-Ekiti to fight the spread of Covid-19 pandemic and to support WASH.