World Toilet Day: NGO moves against open defecation in Taraba

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From LILIAN HOSEA, Abuja

The 19th of November has been marked worldwide as World Toilet Day, to this end, the Youth Progressive Association (YPA) in Jalingo Taraba state, a non Governmental Organisation on Tuesday sensitized the people of the state against open defecation to mark World Toilet Day.

Mrs. Francisca Ikyumen, the Team Leader of YPA, who led the sensitization workshop at the Catholic Pastoral Centre in Jalingo to commemorate the day, urged the people at the event, mostly women and youths to maintain good sanitation for a clean and healthy society.

Ikyumen told the gathering that the  World Toilet Day was set aside by the United Nations to highlight the importance of sanitation and hygiene for a clean environment.

According to her, the day was being celebrated in Taraba in conjunction with Effective Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Services (E-WASH) “This year’s theme “Living no one behind” is aimed at educating the people on how to keep a clean environment including their toilets.

“Toilet signifies the dignity of humans and it also helps to stop the spread of diseases occasioned by open defecation as well as saving lives. We, therefore, urge you to pass this message to the people around your neighborhood to ensure that people are warned against defecating openly which breeds diseases that lead to possible death.

In a related development, the Federal Capital Territory Administration joins the rest of the world to celebrate the United Nations World Toilet Day (WTD), FCT Minister of State, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, has called for private sector initiatives to meet the 2025 Goal of ensuring that Nigeria becomes Open Defecation Free (ODF).  

Aliyu also called for greater commitment especially at a time when President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has flagged off the Clean Nigeria Campaign with the use of the toilet initiative.  

In a statement signed by the minister’s Special Assistant on Media, Austin Elemue in Abuja yesterday, the Minister decried the rate of Nigerians with inadequate or total lack of access to toilets, revealing that the Federal Capital Territory has a fair of the over 47 million people lacking access to sanitation and hygiene.  

According to her, “Nigeria currently has over 47 million people with inadequate or total lack of access to toilets and another troubling 57 million lacking access to potable water. The FCT has its fair share of these disturbing figures.  

“Therefore, the 2019 World Toilet Day is coming at a time that the federal government is revving up the political will to combat this scourge through a number of tools and instruments, programs and initiatives that include a partnership with the organized private sector in other to reverse the scourge and build a healthier Nigerian population.  

“It saddens my heart to note that currently 102, 000 children die annually due to diseases related to sanitation. We must join hands to reverse this ugly trend”, she added.

The FCT State Minister called on traditional rulers and all residents of the territory to see themselves as ambassadors and embark on the crusade to educate others on the need to desist from actions such as open defecation and indiscriminate dumping of refuse.  

She affirmed that if the respective authorities fail to resolve this menace, the target to end open defecation in the nation’s capital by 2025 may be unrealistic.  

Aliyu vowed that henceforth, the FCT Administration will work closely with the six Area Councils and other Agencies of Government to scale-up commitment to implement the National WASH Action Plan to end open defecation across the territory.  

It could be recalled that the United Nations has declared November 19, as World Toilet Day (WTD), just as the Federal Government had a year ago declared a State of Emergency in the Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector. 

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