PLATEAU, Nigeria – A group under the aegis of Society for Water and Sanitation said 52 per cent of residents of Plateau State practice Open Defecation (ODF).
The organisation also said out of 30 Plateau residents, 16 Patrice open defecation, describing the situation as very “alarming”.
Project Officer of the organisation, Mr Jephtha Daleng, disclosed this to journalists in Jos, the Plateau State Capital, in commemoration of the 2019 World Toilet Day celebration tagged “Live No One Behind”
United Nations in 2013 had set aside every November 19, as world Toilet Day.
“The rate of open defecation in the country is very alarming. Today, Nigeria is first in the practice of open defecation with India already moving out.
“For us on the Plateau, the situation is not any better, because we are second in the country with high level of open defecation.
“As I speak, 52 per cent of Plateau residents practice open defecation. In every 30 Plateau residents, 16 defecate in the open,” he said.
Daleng further said that over 50 per cent of households in the state don’t have toilet facilities.
He explained that lack of toilet facility in households forces residents to defecate in the open, hence the spate of deaths particularly among children in the state, as a result of various water and airborne diseases.
He also decried the lack of sanitation facilities in public places in the state, a situation he said also compels people to defecate in the open.
“As I speak to you, more than 50 per cent of households in Plateau don’t have toilet facility. I am not talking of pit latrines that are not covered, but a safely managed toilets.
“Even in public places, there are no sanitation facilities provided. For instance, in the state secretariat and Specialist Hospital, people defecate in the open.
“This is why we have increased rate of deaths among children under-five, as a result of communicable diseases easily contacted because of bad hygiene practices,” he added.
Daleng called on the state government to be proactive in improving sanitation and hygiene in the state, particularly in providing sanitation facilities in public places.
He also advised the state government to key into the national campaign on the use of toilet and urged it to channel resources to promoting sanitation and hygiene.
“Poor sanitation and hygiene practices don’t only affect the health of citizens, but their social lives and the economy of the state.
“So, the government must take deliberate steps in addressing the worsening situation,” he advised.
Daleng, however, called on residents of the state to improve on their personal hygiene practices and desist from open defecation.