FG Declares Dass LGA Bauchi Open Defecation Free

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By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi
The Federal Government on Monday declared Dass as the first Local Government Area in the Northern part of the country to attain the status of Open Defecation Free (ODF).
Making the declaration in Dass, headquarters of the Local Government Area of Bauchi state, the Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu said with this feat, Dass is now the second LGA after Obaniku in Cross Rivers state to attain the ODF status.
Presenting the ODF certificate to Dass through the state government, the minister explained the Obaniku in Cross Rivers state was the first, and Dass in Bauchi state is the second in the country to attain the ODF status.
“Today, I’m excited that Dass LGA has come on board as the first LGA in Northern to be ODF and the second in the country”, he said.
Engr. Suleiman Adamu said that with the high priority his ministry placed on water, sanitation and hygiene and the support of development partners, the country has moved close to achieving ODF by 2025, five years ahead of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target of 2030.
Adamu congratulated the people of Dass LGA and Bauchi state for the land achievement, as well as UNICEF and UK Aid for supporting the implementation of Sanitation, Hygiene and Water in Nigeria (SHAWN) under which this project is recorded.
The Minister stated that Nigeria was reported to be the country with highest number of people practicing open defecation in Africa, estimated at over 46 million people and more than two-third of the population without access to basic sanitation facilities.
“The Federal Ministry of Water Resources is committed to pursuing the collaborative efforts required in addressing the issue with the development of a strategic document call ‘Making Nigeria Open Defecation Free by 2025’ which is also call a ‘National Road Map’.
He recalled that the road map was launched last year and supported by various states, as it also launched the partnership and extended water, sanitation and hygiene programme designed as national collaborative instrument  for the improvement of access to water and sanitation in rural areas drawing from the ODF road map.
Engr. Suleiman Adamu disclosed that the Ministry is equally providing sanitation and hygiene facilities in public places across the country with special consideration to the North East as part of the ministry’s response to emergency situation in the area, stressing that over 100 facilities have been provided under the initiative.
These, according to him, are geared towards encouraging the government to invest in the provision of sanitation facilities and ensure that Nigeria achieve her Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets for water and sanitation by 2030.
Also speaking at the occasion, the state Governor, Mohammed Abubakar recalled that Dass was on state level declared open defecation free on August 9, 2017, saying the elimination of open defecation practice in Dass LGA is not a small feat.
He said that Bauchi state is resolute in breaking the vicious circle of disease and poverty perpetuated by the practice of open defecation, and intend to step up efforts at breaking the taboos and barriers where they exist to support other LGAs and communities as they strive to become open defecation free.
This effort by the government, he defended, will seek and strengthen partnership and collaboration to not only accelerate access to sanitation, but also address the special needs of women and girls to guarantee their equality, dignity and safety.
According to him, safe and clean toilets encourage the girl-child to attend and complete school, and women become vulnerable to shame, physical trauma and violence when they have to resort to open defecation.
He stressed the need to mobilize all global resources at all levels to improve sanitation, hygiene, change social and traditional norms to eliminate open defecation in Nigeria, and commended the minister for his foresight and pragmatism for developing partnership for expanded Water Sanitation and Hygiene program as a strategic foundation towards achieving six SDGs) goals.    

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