Mr Zaid Jurji, Chief, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) for UNICEF says eliminating open defecation requires every Nigerian getting involved to create successful solutions to end it.
Jurji said this at the Forum on Sanitation organised by Private Sector in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (OPS-WASH) in Abuja on Monday.
In his paper titled: ”Towards an Open Defecation Free Nigeria Using Local Solutions”, he said Nigeria had taken the number one place on Open defecation replacing India.
He said only 13 Local Government Areas (LGAs) had attained open defecation free out of 774 LGAs in Nigeria, which was only 1.7 per cent and not all LGAs in Nigeria.
Jurji said 47 million people defecate in the open in Nigeria and only 7 per cent of schools have access to basic WASH for children and teachers.
According to him, 160,000 Latrines per year were built as against a target of 3.3 million annually.
“At this rate Nigeria will not be able to achieve open defecation free if we do not find ways to eliminate this challenge.
“Ending open defecation is everyone business, the government, academia, states, private sector, development partners communities, CSOs, NGOs themselves need to create successful solutions.
“I say with this and with all sense of responsibilty, Nigeria can achieve this with its own resources without relying on external resources and at the end we will all be singing,” he said.
He said state and local governments needed to domesticate the open defecation roadmap and assign constituents and hold them accountable in their bid to end open defecation.
Jurji stressed the need to elaborate financing, promote a sense of pride and communal leadership while embracing the private sector from an enabling environment to end open defecation.
“Communities need to reject open defecation, build latrines and WASH functionality.”