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Monday, October 2, 2023

FCT sanitation agency, WaterAid partner to end open defecation

The FCT Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA) is partnering with WaterAid Nigeria to end open defecation in the nation’s capital.

Mohammed Bello
FCT Minister, Mohammed Bello

This was the thrust of a workshop to review the public toilet design for the FCT, on Thursday, February 3, 2022 in Abuja.

The Senior Special Assistant to the FCT Minister of State, Mohammed Usman, noted that the administration was putting all efforts in place to ensure that Abuja and its environs were Open Defecation-Free (ODF) by 2025.

The agency, while expressing its concern, noted that the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene National Outcome Routine Mapping (WASH NORM) II survey, revealed that 39.4 per cent of FCT residents still defecated in the open.

While mentioning that some communities in the FCT were already attaining the ODF status, he urged RUWASSA to increase the tempo, to ensure that more communities were free of the menace.

Usman called for collaboration with the private sector, to construct 2,000 toilets in public places to enable the FCT achieve open defecation free status in the six area councils by 2025.

He stressed the need for all stakeholders, including the private sector, to collaborate with the administration in realising its objective.

RUWASSA Acting Executive Director, Dr Mohammed Dan-Hassan, noted that open defecation had been a long issue affecting the health of FCT residents.

According to him, when it comes to the issue of sanitation, it was important to think outside the box, in line with current trends.

Dan-Hassan said that the aim of the workshop was to brainstorm with stakeholders and assess the design of constructing public toilets, to end the menace of open defecation.

“The more toilets in public spaces, the more people will be encouraged to use it, we have plans to construct 2,000 toilets in public spaces in the FCT,’’ he added.

He said government would only provide an enabling environment for the construction of public toilets like lands, while the private sector would construct, manage and realise returns on investment.

He maintained that RUWASSA has scaled up sensitisation of FCT residents, to change behaviours in terms of open defecation.

Mr Kolawole Banwo, Head of Advocacy, Policy and Communications, WaterAid Nigeria, said only 76 Local Government Areas out of the 774 have attained open defecation free status in Nigeria.

This, he noted, was a huge sanitation crisis which was critically demanding urgent action.

“With about 46 million people practicing open defecation in Nigeria and 112 million people without access to basic sanitation services;

“It is important to act now to respond to the crisis in a manner that delivers equitable, sustainable and scalable sanitation services,” he said.

Banwo urged the stakeholders to adopt a toilet model that would accommodate the needs of women, and girls, initiate partnerships that would facilitate the design, construction, effective operations and management of such a model.

He added that this would place FCT as a pace setter and help achieve the objectives of a clean Nigeria.

By Tosin Kolade

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