OPEN defecation practices will soon be eradicated in all the 179 communities of Anambra State.
Gov. Willie Obiano made the promise during the inauguration of Anambra State inter-ministerial committee on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) scheme in Awka.
According to the governor, the committee would strengthen the state’s collaboration with United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) in getting Anambra free from open defecation, and also address other crucial issues in public health sector of the state.
“We are fully aware, that water, sanitation and hygiene constitute a major foundation upon which public health stands. We know that when there is no access to water, the pride and dignity of a people suffer a major blow. It is on account of this understanding that my administration has prioritized the provision of portable water over the years. That was why, even with the threat of COVID-19, my administration worked very hard to ensure the commissioning of Obizi and Otuocha water schemes. The two water schemes have a capacity to supply water to 21 communities in both Aguata and Anambra East Local Government Areas. I have also approved a Public Private Partnership management structure for the Greater Onitsha Water Scheme with PCI of South Africa to ensure that the challenge of providing portable water to the residents of Onitsha is tackled head-on. I have no doubts that our partnership with UNICEF will give our people a fighting chance against ailments caused by lack of portable water, open defecation and other poor hygiene practices. Our efforts in this regard are perfectly aligned to the Clean Nigeria Campaign by the federal government, which aims to end Open Defecation in Nigeria by 2025. We count on our partnership with UNICEF and look forward to receiving their continued technical support to enable us achieve our vision of attaining Open Defecation Free local governments across the state, in addition to boosting our capacity to deliver water, sanitation and hygiene to all residents of our dear state,” Gov. Obiano said.
Earlier in an address, Manager in Charge of WASH at UNICEF Enugu Area Office, Mamita Bora Thakka commended Gov. Obiano for his commitment to provision of basic social amenities to the people, and stated that this would help the governor achieve his visions in the campaign against open defecation.
Though Thakks also regretted that failures of previous administrations in infrastructural development culminated in about 70 per cent of Anambra population not having access to water and hand washing facility in their homes, with over 670,000 people still embroiled in open defecation, she described the figure as worrisome to UNCEF, promising that the global body will partner Anambra under WASH auspices to achieve total access to water by 2030.