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Ms Chizoma Opara, Acting Coordinator of the “Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet” campaign, applauded the latest open defecation free achievement in her opening remarks at a training of trainers workshop held in Dutse, Jigawa State on 3 August to build the capacity of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and civil society organizations (CSOs) for the nationwide implementation of Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS).
“It is expected that States will be able to engage these NGOs to support the LGAs in the implementation of CLTS to ensure more LGAs become Open Defecation free,” she said.
CLTS is an approach to sanitation promotion that helps communities analyze defecation patterns and risks in developing local solutions to reduce and ultimately eliminate the practice of open defecation.
Speaking on behalf of Mr Emmanuel Awe, Director, Water Quality Control and Sanitation, Federal Ministry of Water Resources (FMWR), Ms Opara praised the collaborative efforts of the FMWR and the Jigawa State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA) for providing the training amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
She also reminded participants that Nigeria is at the brink of becoming the country with the largest number of people practising open defecation. She said that past efforts to address the problem have yielded minimal results and that, with the advent of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Targets 6.1 and 6.2 for WASH, the bar has been raised even higher.
Ms Opara also acknowledged the leadership of the Honourable Minister of Water Resources, Engr Suleiman H. Adamu, which has given the WASH sector the benefit of political will at a very high level.
“The declaration of a state of emergency, the launch of the National Action Plan for the revitalization of the WASH sector, the launch of the Partnership for Expanded WASH (PEWASH), and the operationalization of the National Roadmap towards ending open defecation in Nigeria by 2025 are some of the initiatives geared towards improving the sector,” she said.
“The drive towards making Nigeria open defecation free by 2025 will be a reality only when all stakeholders demonstrate a strong commitment to this national aspiration,” she said.
According to the recent WASH NORM report (2019). the portion of the national population with access to a water supply is estimated at 68%, to basic sanitation services is 42%, and to hygiene is 21%. The percentage of people practising open defecation is 24.4%.
While commending the government of Jigawa State for the attainment of ODF status by six LGAs, Ms Opara urged it to work towards achieving state-wide ODF status.
A total of 27 LGAs in seven Nigerian states have been declared open defecation free, consisting of six in each of Cross River, Jigawa and Benue, five in Kastina, two in Bauchi, and one in each of Osun and Akwa Ibom. Of these, five were funded directly by WSSCC and two through United Purpose, WSSCC’s executing agency.