From: Kazeem Biriowo, Abuja
FROM an estimated population figure of 200 million people, Engr. Suleiman Adamu, the Minister of Water Resources, on Tuesday said only 37 million persons have access to safe and proper sanitation in the country.
Aside, the minister disclosed that 24.4 per cent of Nigeria’s population still practice open defecation.
Adamu made this known at the second Inter-Ministerial Dialogue on Sanitation in Abuja.
He added that the situation of water supply for proper sanitation and hygiene in public places is only 8.7 per cent, especially in markets and motor parks.
“Health facilities have just 5.2 per cent that are gender sensitive and disability friendly services as these are the criteria set by sustainable development goals”.
He further rolled out statistics on sanitation status in the schools stressing that only 7.2 per cent of schools have basic gender sensitive water supply and hygiene services which, he noted is inline with the SDG requirement.
“The achievement of ODF is every body’s business. Mark my words, when we are talking about open defecation, it includes careless urination especially by men,” he added.
Adamu, however, said there are business opportunities that will exist as it will be a win situation on both sides to get better.
His words: “There are business opportunities that will exist. It is a win-win situation. There’s so much that can be done. We want to appeal to everybody including the media to continue to give this program the supports and I will like to say that as individuals, we can mobilise the communities”.
“Think about what you can do as an individual, what you can do to support this program. Even if you just go back to your villages and mobilise people to make sure people have toilet on community basis with common leather and with a kind of collaboration and creates some cooperative and not the kind that you will do for money but at least, create some collaboration among neighbours and it can be done”.
“The most important thing for us is to stamp out the open defecation practice because it is a disgrace and even a dangerous practice for many people,” Adamu added.
In her remarks, the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Dame Pauline Tallen noted how her ministry is most affected by the menace of open defecation.
She, however, appealed to Nigerians to support the course by intensifying advocacy to create more awareness on the dangers of open defecation.