The Federal Government has charged critical stakeholders to re-double efforts towards ending open defecation by the year 2025.
The Minister of Water Resources, Alhaji Suleiman Adamu, gave the charge on Thursday in Ibadan, during the inauguration of the Oyo State Open Defecation Free Roadmap and Declaration of State of Emergency on Water Sanitation and Hygiene.
The minister, who was represented at the occasion by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mrs Esther Walson-Jack, said that efforts and commitment of the stakeholders would make SDGs 6 on water and sanitation achievable.
Adamu said the inauguration of the road map to end open defection by the Oyo State government has shown that the state was ready “to join the train to take Nigeria to open defection status-free by year 2025.
“This also shows readiness of the state in keying into federal government’s effort in ensuring that Nigerians have access to basic sanitation service by the year 2030.”
The minister urged the state government to empower institutional structures to end open defecation in the state.
In her remarks, the UNICEF representative, Dr Jane Bevan, urged state actors to prioritise putting in facilities in public places and where children are educated.
Bevan said that safe defecation was important to break more than 50 per cent faeco-oral transmission routes and prevent diseases.
In his address, Gov. Seyi Makinde said the inauguration was to create awareness for all the stakeholders and the entire populace on issues relating to water, sanitation, hygiene and the need to put an end to open defecation in the state.
Makinde, who was represented by his deputy, Chief Adebayo Lawal, said “by ranking, UNICEF said that Oyo state is second in open defecation index and that is too bad for us.
“And I think, the purpose of this gathering is to create awareness so that we will know where we situate in things of this nature.
“Within the metropolis we are facing a lot of challenges, we are doing our best to ensure that refuse are cleared regularly and we need a lot more to do in terms of creating awareness and I think that engagement is ongoing as we speak.”
The governor further pleaded with UNICEF to spread its pilot scheme on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in Ona-Ara Local Government Area to other local government areas across the state.
According to him, the state needs more of the pilot project more in the rural areas more than in the city.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Oyo State Rural Water and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA), Mr Najeem Ominrinde, said the awareness would make individuals understand the health risk of open defecation and change their attitude
Omirinde said the campaign against open defecation was presently being promoted across the 36 states of the federation and the FCT.(NAN)