In Nigeria, over 100 million persons lack access to basic sanitation while an estimated 48 million practise open defecation.”
By Deborah Hassan
365Daily – The Federal Government has decried the rising challenge of open defecation in the country, saying 48 million Nigerians practice it.
It, therefore, called for collective action and partnerships to address the issue
The call was made a joint press briefing in Abuja on Thursday, by the Ministers of Water Resources and Sanitation, Joseph Utsev and that of Environment, Balarabe Abbas Lawal, to commemorate the 2023 World Toilet Day.
Utsev, in his address, called for action to curb open defecation in order to have a healthier and more sustainable future for Nigerians.
“In Nigeria, over 100 million persons lack access to basic sanitation while an estimated 48 million practise open defecation. This puts the country among the countries with the highest number of people involved in this practice,” he said.
Quoting the 2023 update report of the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme, he noted that an estimated 3.5 billion people still lacked access to safe toilets, out of which 419 million practise open defecation.
The Minister also lamented that 40 per cent of wastewater was discharged into the environment without treatment and subsequently used in irrigation farming, and the produce consumed with its attendant risks.
Utsev said collaborative efforts have led to a notable reduction in people practising open defecation, citing interventions like Executive Order 009 and declaration of state of emergency in the sector.
“On containment, there is a need to ensure that there is availability of toilet facilities for everyone at home and in public places. It is also important that the transportation, treatment and disposal or reuse component of the service chain is strengthened to ensure a safely managed sanitation service, which is the objective of the SDG sanitation target.
“This will require providing an enabling environment for private sector participation along the sanitation service chain. In line with the SDG definition of safely managed sanitation, households are not expected to share toilet facilities while human waste is either treated or disposed of on or off-site.
“We all can do our part in accelerating progress to safe toilets and sustainable sanitation for all,” he stressed.