The Federal Government has said Nigeria now ranks number one in the world with people practicing open defecation.
Minister, Ministry of Water Resources, Mr. Suleiman Adamu revealed this as he declared open a two-day Private Sector Forum on Sanitation, on Monday in Abuja.
The forum was organized by Organised Private Sector on Sanitation with the theme: ”Coordinating Indigenous Private Sector Initiatives to End Open Defecation in Nigeria”.
According to him, this bad act is not just a way to expose us to diseases, it also shows a lack of dignity.
His words, “Moreover, we are on the brink of being ranked first globally, as approximately 47 million people do not have access to sanitation services in its most basic form.
“Understandably, this is a serious concern to all of us as it has immense economic consequences and also hinders the social development of the country.”
“Besides the exposure to diseases, there is a lack of dignity that is inherent in open defecation practices, particularly with regard to women and girls. As such, there is also a gender inequality issue which must be addressed with urgency.
“If effective solutions are not found, the non availability of sanitation facilities inadvertently further exposes women and girls to violence including rape, when they are forced to go out at night to defecate in the open.
“Again, I will emphasise that this problem has many layers in terms of the vast consequences.
“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 open defecation free, according to the National ODF Protocol.
“However, it is comforting to note the positive efforts being made by my ministry in the WASH sector toward improving the living standards of our people both in the rural and urban areas.”
“Access to Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene are part of the indices for socio-economic development of any nation and thus cannot be ignored,”