OVER 80 million Nigerians do not have access to good toilet facilities.This represents 42 per cent of the entire population of the country which is currently estimated at 198 million.
United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Specialist, Bioye Ogunjobi, disclosed this yesterday while speaking during a workshop organised under the aegis of UNICEF and the European Union: “Clean Nigeria, Use the Toilet Campaign” to alert journalists on the danger of open defecation in the country.
According to him, 47 million people openly defecate in the country with 33 million others using unimproved or unhygienic toilets, lamenting that this statistics ranks Nigeria second among countries practicing open defecation globally.
Ogunjobi added that open defecation impacts negatively on economic, social and health aspects of national development for which Nigeria loses about 1.3 per cent (N455 billion) of GDP annually due to poor sanitation and a third of this was as a result of open defecation.
“You see the Federal Ministry of Water Resources with support from UNICEF Nigeria and other development partners, and in partnership with inter-ministerial agencies, civil society organisations, the media, the private sector and the people of Nigeria, is currently leading the ‘Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet’ campaign to end open defecation by 2025 and achieve universal access to safely managed sanitation. “Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet is an ambitious behaviour-change campaign in Nigeria with a strong citizen engagement component. Leveraging on what is currently working (best practice) in states with local government areas (LGAs) and communities certified as ODF, this campaign is a national movement hinged on policy advocacy, public advocacy and private sector engagement,” he said.
Wooing media houses and traditional rulers, as well as religious leaders to support UNICEF and government agencies in advocating the use of toilet and sanitation system, Ogunjobi also said that Nigeria needs to add two million toilets per year between 2019 and 2025 to achieve the Universal Basic Sanitation target.