*Says only 13 LGs in four states free from menace
*7m toilets needed nationwide
By Kuni Tyessi in Abuja
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has revealed that Kogi State occupies the number one spot in open defecation, making the North-Central zone the leader in the menace among the six geo-political zones with a percentage of 53.9 per cent and a population of 16 million people involved.
It disclosed that while the South-East comes second with a distant 22.4 per cent, it is followed by the North-east with 21.8 per cent.
The lowest is the North west with 10.3 per cent followed by the South-west and South-south with 20.4 per cent and 17.9 per cent respectively.
UNICEF Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Specialist, Mr. Bioye Ogunjobi, who disclosed this in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, Tuesday, during a two-day media dialogue with the theme “Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet”, revealed that out of Nigeria’s 774 local government areas, only 13 were certified open defecation-free.
He said the 13 local governments which were in four states namely Cross River, Benue, Jigawa, and Bauchi have six, two, four, and one local governments respectively, which after investigations, sampling and monitoring had reached the apex point to be certified free from open defecation.
Nigeria, he said, is in need of about seven million toilets to cater for its teeming and growing population of about 200 million people, adding that this is a forecast towards ending open defecation by 2025.
He said:”The reality of open defecation in Nigeria reveals that Kogi state in the North Central part of the country is leading in open defecation. With this, the North Central has a percentage of 53.9% in open defecation which is about 16 million people.
So far, 47 million Nigerians have been encouraged to use toilets and increase access to improved sanitation, especially in rural communities. He added that human defecation was oily in nature and as such, water alone cannot make hands cleans without the use of soap and, or ash.