Governors in the South West States of the country have been charged to take practical steps to put an end to open defecation in their respective states.
The charge was given by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Water Sanitation and Hygiene Specialist, Monday Johnson in Ibadan at a media dialogue organised by UNICEF with the theme “Eliminating Open Defecation in South West”.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Oyo state with a population of over 8 million has 54 percent of people practicing open defecation.
According to Johnson, UNICEF is supporting Oyo State Government to end open defecation in the state before 2028.
The UNICEF specialist expressed worry that Nigeria which is the number one country in the world in terms of open defecation might not be able to end the practice by 2025 going by the implementation pace, saying that it might take up to 2046 to achieve the goal.
Johnson said, “The overall vision of UNICEF Nigeria’s WASH programme is to support the Government to ensure that by 2027, more Nigerians, especially those in vulnerable situations, realize their rights to safely managed drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene services through improved access to affordable, sustainable and climate-resilient, safely managed water, sanitation, and hygiene services.”
He called on the government to increase investments and targeted funding to efforts aimed at ending open defecation in the country.
The Oyo State Commissioner of Information, Prince Dotun Oyelade, who spoke at the event, said the state would begin to prosecute perpetrators of open defecation in the state.
He said the state ministry information is intensifying efforts on public enlightenment to sensitise residents to desist from open defecation practices.
Oyelade said Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde has directed the state ministry of Justice to prosecute perpetrators of Open Defecation in the state.