By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
The Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu said Nigeria is committed towards ending open defecation by 2025.
Adamu who disclosed this while delivering a keynote address, Monday, on the occasion of a two- day workshop on private sector reform with the theme “Coordinating indigenous private sector initiatives to end open defecation in Nigeria”, said only minimal progress has been achieved in the implementation of the roadmap.
At the programme organised by Organised Private Sector-Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (OPS-WASH) and supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the minister said only 14 LGAs out of 774 have been certified open defecation free, but assured that the country will achieve it.
He lamented that reports made available by World Bank reports have shown that about 112,100 Nigerians including 87,000 children under five, die each year from diarrhoea with nearly 90% of the deaths been attributed directly to water.
He said the 2018 WASH national outcome routing mapping data showed that access to basic water supply services in the country is 67.9% while access level to basic sanitation is 41.5%.
he also said access to basic sanitation in institutions and public places are also not encouraging, with the statistics sitting at a meagre 35.7%, while 34% of schools have access to basic water supply and sanitation facilities with only 15.7 of schools having access to basic WASH services out of which only 5.5% of them are gender sensitive.
“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 accross 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.”
CEO, Zenith Water Projects Limited, Dr. Nicholas Igwe said ending OD in Nigeria is everyone’s business as Nigeria loses about N455 billion of Gross Domestic Product annually due to poor sanitation as a result of illnesses, low productivity and loss of learning opportunities among others.
He added that “based in empirical study, every Maura invested in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector results in economic benefits ranging from N1,080 to N12,240. The gains come through savings in healthcare cost, increased productivity, and entrepreneurial opportunity for the sanitation market.”
UNICEF Chief WASH specialist in Nigeria, Mr. Zaid Zurji, said towards meeting the 2025 target, 20 million household toilets will be needed, as well as 200, 2,380 and 1,548 toilets will be needed in motor parks, healthcare facilities and markets respectively.