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‘Nigeria Loses $1bn To Open Defecation, Annually’

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A recent study carried out by the Water and Sanitation Programme (WSP) has revealed that Nigeria loses $1billion an equivalent of N155 billion to open defecation yearly.

The study, which had earlier indicated that Nigeria lost N455 billion equivalent to $2.93 billion, annually due to poor sanitation, also showed that 70 million Nigerians use shared latrines, while 32 million defecated in the open.

The Water and Sanitation Programme is a multi-donor partnership administered by the World Bank to support poor people in obtaining affordable, safe and sustainable access to water and sanitation services.

The study which deals on impacts of poor sanitation in Nigeria, was conducted by the programmes’s team in Africa;

It used objectively verified data sources and conservative numbers to estimate the economic impacts.

The study showed that the data used for the estimates were largely derived from Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) and the Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation (JMP).

The prototype review and concept was endorsed by Mr Benson Ajisegiri,  Deputy Director, in the Federal Ministry of Water Resources.

It stated that “open defecation costs Nigeria $1billion per year and that eliminating the practice would require less than 6.5 million latrines to be built and used.

It stated that 70 million Nigerians use unsanitary or shared latrines and that the poorest was 10 times more likely to practice open defecation than the richest.

The study also indicated that each person practicing open defecation, spent almost 2.5 days a year finding a private location to defecate; leading to large economic losses.

It said that $243 million (N37.7 billion) was lost each year in access time and the cost fell inappropriately on women as caregivers, who might spend additional time accompanying young children, sick or elderly relatives.

“This cost is likely to be an underestimation as those without toilets, particularly women, will be obliged to find a private location for urination as well; also, $2.5 billion (N387.5 billion) is lost each year due to premature death.

It indicated that approximately, 121,800 Nigerians, including 87,100 children under five, died each year from diarrhea; nearly 90 per cent of which was directly attributed to poor water, sanitation and hygiene.

The study named poor sanitation as a contributing factor to other leading causes of child mortality, including malaria and measles.

It stated that “$13 million (N2.1 billion) is lost each year due to productivity losses whilst sick or accessing health care.

“This includes time absent from work or school due to diarrheal disease, seeking treatment from a health clinic or hospital, and time spent caring for under five children suffering from diarrhea or other sanitation-attributable diseases.’’

In costs quantified by the study, open defecation cost more per person than any other type of unimproved sanitation with the additional costs due mainly to the time taken to find a safe, private location for defecation.

Costs were also associated with shared sanitation, taking into consideration the time taken to reach and queue at a public latrine, as well as user-fees.

“Sanitation or lack thereof is a public health issue, and people are affected by their neighbours and communities’ sanitation status, as well as their own, and the costs of open defecation are felt throughout the community.

“Open defecation also has considerable social costs; loss of dignity and privacy or risk of physical attack and sexual violence may not be easily valued in monetary units.

“But these issues are the reality when sanitation facilities are not available,’’ the study stated.

The study indicated that the time costs for accessing the site of open defection and extra travel time was based on the expert opinion of over 25 sector specialists.

The study urged the Nigeria government to channel more resources into sanitation services by targeting investments to the poorest to address their sanitation needs.

It identified equity and uptake as particular bottlenecks along the service delivery pathway in both rural and urban sanitation.

“What needs to be done is to allocate higher investments to sanitation.

“Current sanitation investment in Nigeria is less than 0.1 per cent GDP which is lower than several estimates for what is required.

“Increased investments in sanitation and hygiene promotion are required not only to realise health and welfare benefits of sanitation, but also to avert large economic losses,’’ it said.

The study urged all sanitation agencies to prioritise the elimination of open defecation and propose low cost and effective ways of reducing the practice.

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Environment

NGO Mobilises Stakeholders To Plant Over 6m Trees In Kaduna

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The Aid Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organisation, says it is mobilising relevant stakeholders to plant over six million trees in Kaduna State.
Mr Emmanuel Bonet, Executive Director of the Foundation said this on the sideline of a one-day engagement with relevant stakeholders in Kaduna on Friday.
Bonet said that the initiative was under a project tagged, “Green Peace.”
He told newsmen that the project was designed to promote peace, mitigate climate change, promote sanitation and hygiene and discourage open defecation.
Bonet said that the initiative was under a Public Private Partnership with relevant government agencies and private organisations.
He identified some of the government agencies as Kaduna State Facilities Management Agency, Kaduna State Ministry of Environment, Interfaith Mediation Centre, Kaduna State Peace Commission and Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs.
According to him, a good number of youths from predominantly Muslim community would go and plant trees in a predominantly Christian community and vice versa.
He said that in the two months, about 100,000 trees would be planted in public facilities, like banks, hospitals, schools, hospitals, and other public places.
Bonet said that before 2022, one million trees would be planted in strategic locations within Kaduna metropolis alone to promote peace.
“After this, we have a target of planting five million trees within the forests of Kagoro in Kaura Local Government Area (LGA), Afaka in Kudan LGA and Chikun, in Chikun LGA.
“These forests are already depleting due to massive deforestation by loggers, and in dire need of afforestation by planting trees.
“We are also working with renewable energy organisations to provide alternative sources of clean energy for people using wood to cook and for other businesses,” he said.
The executive director said that the Aid Foundation was equally working with government agencies and private organisations to provide toilet facilities in public places.
He said: “We are also hoping that toilets are going to be built in all public facilities like banks, supermarkets, hospitals, particularly at the entrance gate so that people can access them easily.
“This will go a long way in preventing open defecation in the state, particularly around public infrastructure and offices.
“Therefore, the engagement was to get the private organisations and government agencies to commit to making provisions for toilet facilities that will be accessible by members of the public.
“This will significantly tackle the problem of open defecation.”

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DPO Donates Borehole To Rivers Community

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Ogoloma Community in Okrika Local Government Area of Rivers State has commended the Divisional Police Officer incharge of the area, CSP Okoro Ikechukwu for the construction of a water bore hole in the community.
This was contained in a letter jointly signed by the Chairman and Secretary of the community, Chief Kunumgbe and Levi Alalibo, respectively.
The community said the gesture will go a long way to check the rate of water borne diseases in the area.
According to the letter, “Ogoloma community has accommodated other officers before, but we see CSP Okoro as a distinct officer with the zeal to make peace.
“Your recent role in installing drinking water for the community is a case study”, the statement said.
CSP Okoro Ikechukwu who responded to the letter in an interview with newsmen said the borehole will go a long way in checking water scarcity usually experienced in the community.
According to him, during his routine visit to the community he discovered that the people were facing serious challenge of water scarcity, adding with the help of God he decided to come to their rescue.
He said rendering assistance to the needy aside from security was borne out of passion.
The DPO call on the people to cooperate with the police in areas of information sharing, surveillance and intelligence.

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Flood Ravages Rumuigbo Community …Vehicles, Motorists Trapped

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Some vehicles coming from the East-West road were last Thursday trapped in a surging flood water along the Owoloma and Obi Wali Road in Rumuigbo Community in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The flood caused by a heavy downpour in the area, also resulted to heavy gridlock in most of the roads in the community and Ikwerre road.
Eyewitness account told The Tide that the gridlock stretched from the Rumuokoro flyover to Rumuokuta junction.
It said that the situation led to the diversion of some vehicles to Rukpokwu through the SARS road.
An indigene of Rumuodomaya, Mr Gray Orji whose vehicle was trapped in the flood told The Tide that he spent more than three hours trying to navigate his way out of the community but to no avail owing to the heavy traffic caused by the flood.
Orji described the flood as very terrible, saying that something needed to be done to create access for water to flow out during heavy rains in the area.
“I feel that the drainage is not wide enough for water to flow out. Besides, some of the traders should also be blamed for always dumping refuse into the drainage”.
He urged the government to look into the drainage problem of the community as most residents are passing through difficulties as a result of perennial rainfalls and flooding.
Also speaking, a shop owner, Lady Lydia Tete said most shop owners usually lock up their shops during rainfalls.
“But today, Nkpolu done tie wrapper. I never see this kind of flooding before”, she said in pidgin English.
Lydia called on both the state and federal governments to come to the aid of Nkpolu residents by expanding the roads and widening the gutters.
“I dey call on government to help us build this road because we dey suffer too much on this road”, she said.
Another resident who spoke from the comfort of his home, said “every little rain fall here is a problem, let government come to our aid, we want government to do this road for us”.
The Tide correspondent who was also trapped in the incident reported that even officials of Setraco, the company working on the bad portion of Nkpolu road could not pass despite number of soilders that accompanied them.

By: John Bibor

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