By Victor Ogunje
With the intention to make Ekiti State open defecation free in 2021, the state government has partnered the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for the actualisation of the target.
The government has also ordered the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) to ensure that all the residential and commercial buildings in the state are metered for accurate billing.
Speaking with newsmen in Ado Ekiti on Monday, the Commissioner for Public Utilities and Infrastructure, Hon. Bamidele Faparusi, said the memorandum of understanding with UNICEF was reached following damning reports that Ekiti is the second in open defecation practice in the country.
Faparusi stated that UNICEF had used Ekiti West and Gboyin Local Governments for the pilot scheme and that the two councils are almost zero free with the provision of low cost toilet facility at every household.
To this end, Faparusi said the state government will soon begin the construction of pubic toilets across the 16 local government areas of the state.
He said the state Rural Water Sanitation Agency (RUWASA) has done a baseline study that will help the government in kickstarting the programme.
“We are working on the data provided by RUWASA and we shall work on it to be able to know the number of facilities to provide. Open defecation is dangerous to our hygiene and health, so we need to fight it headlong.
“It is an age long practice; it cannot stop in a day. We are also planning a sewage processing facility in Ado Ekiti metropolis that will enhance sanitation. We have a special roadmap to tackle these problems,” he said.
Faparusi stated that Governor Kayode Fayemi has begun heavy investment on Ero and Egbe Dams, with massive reticulation exercise in about nine local governments to help the open defecation-free scheme.
“Ekiti will key into the idea of toilet facilities if provided because of a large number of educated people in our state. Construction of Mobile toilets are in the pipeline, but all can’t be provided in a day. There will be mobile toilets for events. Our policy will address all these,” he said.
In electricity supply, he said metering of all houses became inevitable in the state following exorbitant charges the BEDC’s estimated billing has brought.
Faparusi added that all the landlords will be sensitized to key into the water supply scheme of government, saying water from treated dams are more hygienic than well and other sources.
“For the supply of water and electricity in Ekiti, we won’t allow our people to be cheated. Just like we told BEDC, there must be accurate billing.
“We will mandte the Ekiti State Water Corporation to charge affordable price for water supply, so every resident can key into the water supply scheme of the government,” he said.