The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has revealed that 46 million Nigerians still defecate in the open.
This report comes a week after Vice President Yemi Osinbajo called for effective collaboration among the three tiers of government and the private sector to ensure that the country achieves its goal to end open defecation by 2025.
In a statement made available to Peoples Gazette on Thursday, UNICEF said that there has been limited progress in the fight against open defecation in Nigeria.
The fund in the report identified Kwara, Plateau, and Ebonyi as states with the highest rates of open defecation. It said Abia, Zamfara, and Akwa Ibom recorded the lowest rates of open defecation in the country.
It further disclosed that Nigeria was making progress in improving access to water, sanitation and hygiene services to its population
According to the report, Nigerians now have better access to basic drinking water services.
Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria highlighted the need for government to step up effort to ensure that the country edges closer to phasing out open defecation.
“It is clear that more needs to be done to ensure that all Nigerians have access to safe toilets and that we shift closer to ending open defecation across the country,” Mr Hawkins said.
“With the Clean Nigeria campaign, we are making strong efforts but the whole country needs to put their full weight behind this campaign. We cannot afford to fail, ending open defecation is crucial to making progress in so many other areas, including health,” he added.
Mr Buhari In November 2018, declared a state of emergency in the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) sector, launching a national campaign tagged to jump-start the country’s journey towards becoming open defecation-free by 2025.