… Says Jigawa, Bauchi, Katsina, top three states with open defecation free communities
By Femi Bolaji and Bashir Bello
The United Nations Children Fund, UNICEF, has said 16 million people across Benue, Plateau, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger and the Federal Capital Territory engage in Open Defecation, OD.
This statistics according to UNICEF, places the North Central zone with more prevalence of OD among the 47 million people across Nigeria who practice OD.
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, WASH, Specialist of UNICEF, Bioye Ogunjobi, who disclosed this on Wednesday at a media dialogue on sanitation, tagged “Clean Nigeria: Use the toilet” in Kano, also said Jigawa state leads others with over 3000 communities declared Open Defecation Free.
He listed Jigawa, Bauchi, Katsina, Benue and Cross river as the top five states in Nigeria with thousands of communities declared .Open Defecation Free.
He noted that avoidable diseases like Diarrhea, Cholera among others are prevalent among children, especially the under fives which according to him has direct links with OD.
While applauding the Federal government for declaring a state of emergency on the WASH sector, Ogunjobi reechoed the need for government at all levels to budget more funds for the country to achieve Open Defecation Free status by 2025.
He also enjoined the government to take ownership of WASH campaigns from development partners like UNICEF, European Union, EU, among others for its sustenance.
Earlier in his remarks, the Deputy Director, Child Rights Information Bureau of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Olumide Osanyinpeju explained that “Clean Nigeria: Use the toilet” campaign is aimed at effecting behavarioul change among Nigerians on OD, and create a “national movement with elements of policy advocacy, public advocacy, grassroots mobilization, and private sector engagement to end the scourge by 2025.”
The two days workshop which was organised by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture in collaboration with UNICEF, EU and other development partners brought together journalists from the North East, North West and North Central geopolitical zones.