The Logo Local Government Area of Benue State has fulfilled all requirements to be certified Open Defecation Free (ODF) in the state, the State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (BERWASSA) has said.
The agency’s General Manager, Dr Ella Ejembi, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday, April 24, 2019.
According to him, the National Task Group on Sanitation had in January 2019, completed validation processes for the purpose of ensuring the final certification is completed soon.
Ejembi said that the state government had been working to enhance access to sanitation with payment of N50 million counterpart funding for the Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion in Nigeria (RUSHPIN) programme.
He noted that although challenges of farmer-herdsmen crisis had led to relapse of efforts made, the state government was working to strengthen activities to scale up sanitation in the state.
Ejembi said that the agency would continue to play its part to scale up RUSHPIN programme in three more local government areas of Ado, Buruku and Gboko to complement efforts of the Global Sanitation Fund (GSF).
He called for more support to reduce the plight of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the state, saying this became necessary because of continuous complaints from development partners of overstretching of facilities in the camps.
According to him, there is the need to come to the aid of the IDPs in the state, stressing that with access to potable water and sanitation facilities, their condition of living would improve.
“We in Benue State are asking for more support to improve lives of IDPs in the state, the camp is still functioning well due to challenges of insecurity and all other issues.
“We need these interventions in areas of access to potable water, access to toilet facilities, with the way the population is expanding; we cannot fold our hands and do nothing.”
The general manager bemoaned continued influx of displaced persons from Cameroon, stressing the need for policies to be put in place to control migration.
He noted that the agency had executed 638 water projects in partnership with the state government, the Department for International Development, UNICEF in eight local governments in the state.
“Out of the figure, 594 were hand pumps, while 44 were motorised boreholes. We have also rehabilitated over 344 others across the state.”
Ejembi listed the benefiting local government areas to include Ogbadigbo, Obi, Oju, Tarka, Buruku, Guma, Konshisha and Katsina-Ala.
On sanitation, he explained that 197 VIP latrines had been built across the state, while 2,000 communities had been declared open defecation free as a result of efforts of the agency over the years.
He said that the state had designed a roadmap aimed at declaring Benue Open Defecation Free by 2025.
In June 2014, Nigeria benefited from the Global Sanitation Fund $5 million to meet the sanitation and hygiene challenges in Benue and Cross River states.
The RUSHPIN is an initiative of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and the Global Sanitation Fund, the grant-giving body of the UN Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council.
The innovation sees international funding matched by national, regional and local funding, setting a framework for replication to achieve the national target of ending open defecation in Nigeria by 2025.
By Tosin Kolade