By; AMOS TAUNA, Kaduna
Nigeria still has a shortfall of 669 local government areas to join the League of open defecation-free countries, the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, has lamented.
According to UNICEF, it might be impossible to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6 by 2030 if the government and relevant stakeholders in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, WASH, do not mobilise to ensure the 774 LGAs of the country become open-defecation-free.
Dr Clement Adams, the Officer in Charge, UNICEF Bauchi Field Office, spoke Wednesday at a media dialogue in Azare, Bauchi State, on World Toilet Day, congratulated the people of Katagum Local Government Area in Bauchi state for becoming the 105th local government area in the country to be certified open defecation-free.
He observed that the majority of the diseases that afflict people can be traced to poor sanitation, saying that not having enough toilets is endangering both humans and the environment and the statistics we have is not encouraging.
He emphasized, “Jigawa is the only state in the country that has all its local government areas certified open defecation free, but we believe other states can copy from them to ensure the country achieves the Sustainable Development Goal Number 6 by 2030.”
The officer in charge stressed the need for more partnership with relevant stakeholders, pointing out that governments must ensure all hands are on deck to bridge the gap created by the shortfall.
The Bauchi State Commissioner for Water Resources, Alh. Nuhu Zaki, had earlier expressed the state government’s commitment to attain an open defecation-free status across all the 20 LGAs by 2025.
He said that it is important to note that the state government was able to deliver 8 local government areas as LGA ODF-wide, these include Dass, Warji, Shira, Gamawa, Bogoro, Ganjuwa, Toro and Katagum local government areas.
He noted that additional 5934 communities were delivered ODF while two other local government areas were at different levels of becoming ODF that is Bauchi and Zaki local government areas.