It is common in Nigeria to see people defecate in the open, a practice that ranks the country high on the global open defecation index.
According to WASH survey conducted by the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, 47 million Nigerians are involved in the act.
Orange FM’s Flora Iweanya examines the ugly trend and the effort of government at all levels, especially the Ondo state government at tackling the menace.
Available records show that Nigeria has overtaken India as the first in the practice of open defecation in the world with about 47 million Nigerians involved in the practice and one out of four people in ondo state practice open defecation bringing the statistics to 1.4 million people in Ondo State.
According to the national road map to make Nigeria open defecation free by 2025, the country loses 455 billion Nigerian naira annually to poor sanitation adding that Nigeria needs an estimated 959 billion Nigerian naira to end open defecation in the next 5 years, with the government expected to provide around 25 percent of this amount. The other 75 percent is expected to be borne by the private sector and households.
In Akure, there are areas that are notorious for this menace: Isinkan, Ayedun, Isolo, Idiagba, NEPA area, Hospital road, Arakale to mention a few.
THE trend is the same all over the state from Akoko to Okitipupa, to Idanre, everywhere people take refuge in the bush, forests and canals to ease themselves due to lack of modern toilet facilities.
Last year, the state government banned open defecation across the 18 local council areas with an aim to make the state completely free from infectious diseases and other health related challenges.
The ban was announced by Governor oluwaRotimi Akeredolu at the inauguration of the State Steering Committee on Open Defecation Free (ODF) where he described the situation as unacceptable to his government.
The commissioner for water resources and Yetunde Adeyanju condemned the practice in its entirety while stating that laws have been enacted in that regard
Also, the commissioner for environment Funso Esan urged house owners to contribute to the fight against this menace by providing toilet facilities in their buildings
An environmental sanitation officer Dayo Ogedengbe re-emphasized the need for residents to adhere strictly to the laws as the monitoring team will not hesitate to arrest any house owner without a toilet facility
It is a fact that the war on open defecation would not be won just by making the necessary infrastructure available, but there should be a concerted appeal for attitudinal change of the people, via active value reorientation as This would translate to eradicating open defecation in our clime.
Everyone therefore needs to support government’s bold initiative to end the culture of open defecation because it will help curb health hazards particularly cholera, child mortality and poverty.