Four new Local Government Areas in Jigawa State have been added to open defecation-free LGAs in the country.
The LGAs include Gumel, Maigatari, Babura and Kazaure, with its validation which held from December 12 to 20, 2021.
This makes a total of 76 LGAs now free from its population defecating in the open in the country.
At the monthly meeting of the National Task Group on Sanitation in Abuja, Chairman of the NTGS, Mr Emmanuel Awe, said this feat was in line with the “Ending Open Defecation Target of the Federal Government by 2025”.
Awe, represented by Mrs Chizoma Opara, Coordinator, Clean Nigeria Campaign Secretariat, said the validation exercise was carried out by a team of 40 validators drawn from the NTGS.
Before attaining the ODF status, communities would have eliminated open defecation and imbibed total sanitation practices, which include personal, environmental and domestic hygiene.
The communities would have also had 100 per cent toilet use and increased ownership and sustainability of hygiene and sanitation services.
“The major finding of validation exercise showed that all the 46, 104, 113, and 48 certified ODF communities validated in Gumel, Maigatari, Babura and Kazaure LGAs respectively were ODF and the success rate of 100 per cent was recorded.
“Communities in Gumel were amazed by the positive impact of WASH and appealed to the LGA to visit them frequently after the NGO leaves, for sustainability.
“There was evidence of behavioural change as all households in the communities visited in Babura, Kazaure, Gumel and Maigatari LGAs had toilets and were in use.
“All Schools visited had separate toilets for male and female, but there is need to construct additional toilets in some schools and prison.
“There is high level of political will going by the maximum support and involvement from both traditional and Local Government Authorities for the process.”
It will be recalled that the Federal Government through the Ministry of Water Resources had reiterated commitment towards ending open defecation in the country by introducing a Pledge Card.
The Pledge Card is a commitment booklet which was prepared during the flag-off of the campaign to end open defecation in Nigeria to be signed by the Chief Executives of both the Federal and State Governments.
This signifies their readiness to give political and financial support towards meeting the target of ending open defecation in Nigeria by 2025.
By Tosin Kolade