By Jennifer Y Omiloli
The Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu, has warned that the country may soon take global lead among the countries still practicing open defecation if necessary actions are not taken by relevant stakeholders.
The minister, who gave the warning yesterday at a press briefing to mark his three years in office, also warned that the ugly practice, if not checked on time, would bring shame to the nation among the comity of countries.
The minister noted that checking open defecation should be a civic responsibility of all the citizenry, adding that the ministry would map out aggressive policy to check the practice.
He said India, which is said to be notorious for open defecation would be, through concerted efforts of the country’s authority, declared open defecation free by October 2, 2019.
According to him, once India is free from open defecation, the attention of the world would be shifted to Nigeria and that would be a national embarrassment.
The minister, who was full of praises for President Muhammadu Buhari for declaring a national emergency on water and sanitation sector, said the ministry would pursue vigorously, the action plan on Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) as approved by the federal executive council.
According to the 2018 National Outcome Routine Mapping, NORM, Report, 47 million Nigerians defecate in the open while the country loses N455 billion (US$ 1.3b) annually due to poor sanitation.
Recall President Muhammadu Buhari, November 8, in Abuja declared a state of emergency on Nigeria’s water supply, sanitation and hygiene sector.
The president said the declaration has become imperative to reduce the high-prevalence of water-borne diseases in different parts of the country, which has caused preventable deaths.
Inaugurating the National Action Plan for Revitalization of Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Sector at State House Conference Centre, President Buhari directed government at all levels to redouble efforts and work towards meeting the nation’s water supply and sanitation needs.
it was reported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), October 4, that only 39 per cent of Nigerians use improved toilets that are not shared by more than one household. This was revealed by UNICEF Water and Sanitation Hygiene (WASH) Specialist, Ms. Martha Hokonya, during a two-day media dialogue with journalists in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.