Seriki Adinoyi in Jos
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) representative to Nigeria, Mr. Peter Hawkins, has urged Plateau communities and indeed Nigerians to shun open defecation and keep hygienic toilets, saying the practice has impacted negatively on their health.
This is even as the European Union Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Ketil Karlsen, has stressed the need for all Nigerians to have access to potable water.
Hawkins and Karlsen stated these at the inauguration of a solar-powered borehole project and a school sanitation facility at Logwom Kwi, Riyom Local Government Area of Plateau State.
Hawkins said that with commitment and right policies of governments, and with behavioural change for sanitation and hygiene among Nigerians, open defecation-free was possible in Nigeria.
The envoy observed that the EU partnership with the federal and state governments had boosted efforts to provide safe drinking water for Nigerians. He urged Nigerians and other stakeholders to replicate the efforts to achieve the goal.
Karlsen said: “What you see here is a far much wider efforts where the European Union has been partnering with the federal government in implementing its policies, and here in Plateau with the state government also. So we have made investment in the water and sanitation sector to the tune of 250 million Euros in Nigeria in the past five years and 12 million Euros in Plateau.
“But we can say that we have not been completely successful because not more than 60 per cent of Nigerians have access to clean and safe water and that is why we want these efforts to be replicated in those communities where they are needed by the people.”
Hawkins also called on the people to protect the facility to enable them enjoy its benefits for long.
Meanwhile, Governor Simon Lalong has promised that his administration will continue to provide potable water for the people.
Lalong, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), added that his government paid N500 million as counterpart fund to facilitate the execution of the project.