By Luka Daniel (Bauchi),
The Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Hussein Adamu has stated that over 46 million people engage in open defecation in the country.
The Minister stated this on Monday, during the official celebration of Local Government Wide Open Defecation Free Status by Dass Local Government under the Sanitation, Hygiene and Water in Nigeria (SHAWN) project, held at the Waziri Mazadu primary school in Dass Local Government Area (LGA) of Bauchi state.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Musa Ibrahim, who represented the Minister said that more than two third of the Nigeria population are without access to basic sanitation facilities and efforts in time past to address the challenge yielded minimal results.
He commended UNICEF and DFID for supporting the implementation of the SHAWN project in Nigeria, which he noted has been implemented in 70 LGAs of the six states of Bauchi, Benue, Katsina, Zamfara, Kaduna and Jigawa, adding that the project has been extended to 100 LGAs in 8 states, with addition of Kano and Yobe states in 2017.
"It is therefore worthy to note that Dass local government is the first among the implementing LGAs in the state and the second local government in the country to achieve this notable feat".
"A glimpse of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene WASH sector in Nigeria through WASH diagnostic report by the World Bank in 2017, shows that, while the country made significant progress in the provision of safe water supply in the past decade, which contributed to socio-economic development and poverty reduction in the country, the same cannot be said of sanitation and hygiene", he stated.
The Minister, who claimed that the Federal Government of Nigeria has developed the national open defecation road map aimed at eliminating Open Defecation by 2025, added that the Ministry, was providing sanitation and hygiene facilities in public places across the country, with special consideration for the Northeast as part of the Ministry's response to the emergency situation in the area.
In his address, the Permanent Secretary Bauchi State Rural Water Supply and sanitation Agency, Garba Magaji Babaji said that the SHAWN project built the capacity of stakeholders at the State and local government levels and adopted the local government wide approach in the community lead Total Sanitation Implementation, CLTS.
He said that, all the communities committed to construct and use latrines not only at household level, but in market, motor parks and places of worship, while the project in collaboration with the state government provided facilities in schools and health centers.
Officer-In Charge, UNICEF Nigeria, Bauchi Field office, Idrisa Yawe, while in his remarks said that, the Bauchi state government has demonstrated commitment by releasing counterpart cash contribution for the provision of water, Sanitation and Hygiene facilities, adding that, the state government has committed to releasing 25 million per month from August 2016 to March 2018.