The Nigerian Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu says Nigeria remains committed towards ending the menace of open defecation by meeting the 2025 target, in line with the revised global target set by the United Nations.
He stated this in Abuja at the ongoing two-day workshop on private sector forum on sanitation organized by Private Sector in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (OPS-WASH) with support from UNICEF.
Adamu who expressed optimism that despite the low performance, the 2018 WASH national outcome routing mapping data showed that access to basic water supply services in the country was 67.9 percent while access level to basic sanitation was 41.5 percent.
Although, he berated the poor implementation of the National roadmap towards ending open defecation in 2025, saying only 14 local government areas out of 774 have been certified open defecation free.
He further lamented that reports made available by World Bank shows that about 112,100 Nigerians including 87,000 children under five, die each year from diarrhea with nearly 90 percent of the deaths attributed directly to water.
“As part of the efforts to address this issue, with particular reference to ending open defecation, a national roadmap towards making Nigeria Open Defecation Free (ODF) by 2025 was developed and launched in 2016. However, only minimal progress has been achieved in the implementation of the roadmap, with only 14 LGAs across the country so far being certified as ODF according to the national ODF protocol. Other national efforts include the launch of the National WASH action plan for the revitalisation of the WASH sector and the declaration of a state of emergency by Mr. President on 8th November 2018, with a strong statement to end OD in the country by 2025.”
The United Nations Children Fund, UNICEF also disclosed at the forum that Nigeria continues to top the global ranking on open defecation even though series of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) interventions have been embarked upon by the Federal Government,
The UNICEF representative in Nigeria, Ms. Pernille Ironside said Nigeria has claimed the number one spot from India as the country with the highest number of persons defecating in the open, with 47 million Nigerians still indulging in the act.
She also said that the implication of the ranking includes an annual economic loss of N455 billion annually to poor sanitation, exposure to diseases, gender based violence and lack of dignity.
“A recent data from the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene National Outcome Routine Mapping (WASH NORM) is that only 16 percent of schools and 6 percent of health facilities have access to basic water and sanitation services. Also, on average 68% of people living in rural areas only have access to four liters of water per capita per day. Moreover, people from the poorest households in Nigeria are 10 times less likely to have access to basic water, sanitation, and hygiene services than those from the richest households. Another important challenge revealed by the WASH NORM report is that 47 million Nigerians are still practicing Open Defecation, putting Nigeria at the top of the list of countries where this remains an issue since India has stepped down from this unenviable position recently.” Ironside said.
The UNICEF rep who raised concerns that the rate of successes recorded by Nigeria would not enable the country to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) target on WASH, noted that it had become necessary to engage the private sector to enable the country take a quantum leap to accelerate progress through new innovative approaches.
UNICEF’s Chief of WASH Zaid Jurji, noted that in order to meet the 2025 target, Nigeria must through the help of the private sector, move from building 150,000 household latrines annually to at least 2 or 3 million household latrines.