By Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said that 80 million Nigerians do not have access to good toilet facilities.
This represents 42 per cent of the people going by an estimated population of 198 million people in the country.
Speaking during a workshop to alert journalists on the danger of open defecation in the country, Bioye Ogunjobi, a UNICEF Specialist, quoting a recent report, said 47 millions people openly defecate in the country with 33 million others using unimproved toilets.
Ogunjobi, who spoke to select journalists across the north to sensitise them on the ongoing campaign by UNICEF and the European Union: “Clean Nigeria, Use the Toilet Campaign”, lamented that Nigeria ranks second among countries practising open defecation globally.
He revealed that open defecation has an economic, social and health impact on national development.
He lamented that 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.
He said: “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 therefore said that Nigeria needs to add two million toilets per year between 2019 and 2025 to achieve the Universal Basic Sanitation target.
Ogunjobi then appealed to media houses, traditional rulers, as well as religious leaders to support UNICEF and government agencies in advocating the uses of toilet and sanitation system.