Yammawar Kafawa, a UNICEF certified Open Defecation Free (ODF) community in Kano State has made open defecation a crime punishable by monetary fines on any member of the community found indulging in the act.
Rabiu Usman, the village head, disclosed this to newsmen during a visit to the community, organised by UNICEF in collaboration with European Union and Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.
Journalists gathered that the visit was part of activities to promote the ‘Clean Nigeria: Use the toilet’ campaign.
Usman who appreciated UNICEF for their intervention and rigorous sensitization on the need to embrace Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) practices, said the community members had embraced the habit of using the toilet and washing their hands after use.
He explained that the imposition of a fine on anybody found defecating openly was to ensure that the community’s resolve to totally end open defecation was not compromised.
“We have stipulated a fine of three thousand naira for any adult found defecating openly.
“We also stipulated a fine of two thousand nairas for any child caught engaging in open defecation. The fine would be paid by the parents and both the adult and teenager would have to pack the excrement with their bare hands”, Usman said.
The village head also said the community conducted daily patrols of the surrounding to ensure that no one contravened the order against open dedication.
“So far, we have not caught anybody or had cause to impose the fines, as nobody has been found indulging in the act,” the village head said.
Usman advised other communities to embrace the measure, as it would go a long way in curtailing the scourge of open defecation and improve the hygiene and general health status of residents.
Another resident, Ibrahim Inusa, said the people are very happy since banning open defecation because they now have a clean environment.
Inusa, who thanked UNICEF for their unrelenting effort in sensitizing and supporting them to make the community open defecation free said, only very few people had toilets in the past compared to now where almost 100 per cent containment had been achieved.
“In the past, we used to defecate openly due to ignorance and very few people had toilets, but now, almost every household has a toilet.
“Also, there were frequent cases of disease outbreak like cholera, diarrhoea and others before the intervention by UNICEF.
“However, we have not had any case of such for a very long time now as we have almost hundred per cent containment of excrement and are complying with WASH-related practices,” he said.
Journalists gathered that UNICEF, through its Water Sanitation And Hygiene (WASH) specialist, Bioye Ogunjobi, had disclosed that not less than 47 million Nigerians still indulge in open defecation across the country.
Out of the number, the North Central region has over 16 million people, 53.9 per cent of the national figure, still defecating openly.