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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

46 million Nigerians lack access to toilet, says minister

The Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu has said that 46 million Nigerians do not have access to toilet.

Ministry of Water Resources
Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu

Adamu disclosed this at the flag-off ceremony of the “Clean Nigeria” campaign and launch of the National Youth Volunteer Programme (NYVP) on COVID-19 prevention in Jigawa, on Thursday, June 10, 2021.

“Statistically, WASH NORM 2019 report showed that only 5 per cent of Nigeria’s population are practicing proper hand-washing, with water and soap at critical times.

“And 61 per cent of households in Jigawa were afflicted with diarrhea, where 5.1 per cent have no access to safely managed water, and one in four Nigerians, about 23 per cent, still defecate in the open.

“This amounts to 46 million people defecating in the open,” the minister, who was represented by the Northwest Coordinator of the ministry, Mr Olaya Olabamidele, said.

According to him, 13.8 per cent of Jigawa’s population only have access to basic sanitation services, which underlines the WASH situation in the state.

Adamu pointed out that Nigeria had recorded only 61 open defecation free local governments, out of the nation’s 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs), since the inception of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015.

“This is only 7.9 per cent of all LGAs in Nigeria and an average of eight Open Defecation Free (ODF) per year. This country will, therefore, need to achieve 143 ODF LGAs per year, to meet the 2025 targets or 72 LGAs per year to end open defecation by 2030,” the minister said.

He said that out of the 61 LGAs declared ODF in Nigeria, the Northwest zone had 37 with Katsina having 16, Jigawa 14, Kaduna 3, Zamfara 1 while Sokoto and Kebbi have none.

To this end, the minister described the launch of the clean Nigeria campaign as timely and heart-warming, pointing out that prior to the launch in 2019, the Buhari administration had consistently affirmed its commitment to the development of WASH.

“Today’s event also marks the state launch of the NYVP on hand-washing and the clean Nigeria campaign for COVID-19 prevention, which is one of the interventions of the Federal Government, through the federal ministry of water resources, to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This involves the engagement of 100 youth volunteers in each of the 774 local government areas across the country for community sensitization and awareness creation on safe water sanitation and hygiene practices for COVID-19 prevention over a three-month period,” Adamu said.

He said that the volunteers would be trained on communicating and demonstrating good sanitation and hygiene practices that could help in curtailing the spread of the corona virus and open defecation practice in the country.

Earlier, the state Commissioner for Water Resources, Ibrahim HanunGiwa, said that the campaign was initiated to address the unfortunate situation of defecation in the state.

HanunGiwa, who was represented by Alhaji Gambo Malam, the permanent secretary in the ministry, said that the effect of these practices and lack of sensitisation had great implications for universal public health.

“The campaign will also expose Jigawa State to the harmful effects of open defecation and promote the practice of community-led total sanitation.

“The campaign is also aimed at drawing the government’s attention to the need to improve budgeting for sanitation infrastructure, as well as strengthening partnership and coordination among government agencies,” the commissioner said.

By Abdullahi Mohammed

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