Dr Adeniyi Aremu, the Managing Director, Lower Niger River Basin Development Authority has described engineers as the backbone for the success of open defecation free Nigeria.
Aremu, who is an engineer, stated this on Tuesday in Ilorin at the Public Lecture and Investiture of the Chairman of the Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN), Ilorin branch.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the title of the lecture is “The Role of Engineers in Eradication of Open Defecation in Nigeria,”.
Aremu, the guest speaker at the event, said eradication of open defecation was vital for a safe environment, healthy living and peaceful ecosystem.
He asserted that engineers had a role to play in the design and construction of modern toilets towards achieving Goal 6 of the Sustainable Development Goals.
According to Aremu, engineers would also need to help in the design, construction and provision of potable water supply systems and help maintain a clean and green environment.
He urged the professionals to join in awareness creation and enlightenment of the public on the need to end open defecation in Nigeria before 2025.
The guest speaker urged engineers to design a machine for conversion of human waste into useful materials such as a urine-powered generator, fertilizer, animal feed and power generation among others.
He said that more than 42 million Nigerians engaged in open defecation, thereby making the country the second in the world after India.
“Statistics has shown that more than 432,000 deaths occur in a year due to diarrhoea, which may be as a result of open defecation. Out of these deaths, 297,000 are children below the age of five,” he said.
The lecturer asserted that only 27 local government areas in Nigeria were certified open defecation free.
He listed diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera, malnutrition, stunted growth and even gender-based violence among others,
as what could be the aftermath of the practice.
In her address, the chairman of APWEN, Mrs Oluwatoyin Babatunde said that the association, inaugurated in 1983, had consistently contributed to the encouragement of girl child into the engineering profession.
Babatunde said the association had promoted professional excellence among female engineers in the state.
The new chairman pledged to seek collaboration with government, corporate bodies and Non-Governmental Organisations, to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in schools.
“We shall partner with these bodies in giving scholarships to young girls in the field of Engineering,” she assured.