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Experts Seek Action Against Open Defecation

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Health and environmen
tal experts have called on governments across the country to take urgent steps to curb the menace of open defecation prevalent in the country.
In a nationwide survey they said this was necessary to guard against outbreak of diseases especially as the rainy season set in.
Department of Public Health, University of Uyo Teaching Hospital (UUTH), Dr Okon Udom, told our correspondent that open defecation should be discouraged by all governments.
He said open defecation was the major cause of diarrhoea and cholera.
He, therefore, suggested the building of toilets in public places and street corners.
Executive Director, Community Health, Education and Development in Africa, a Non-Governmental Organisation, Dr Cliff Okafor,  said open defecation was a major cause of hand-to-mouth disease.
Okafor, a medical practitioner, also said that open defecation was also a terrible source of pollution.
“When people defecate in open places, flies perch on it and bring it back to our food, plates and homes.
“This is why we have high cases of typhoid, dysentery in this country.
“In open defecation, hook worm gets to the ground and gets back to the individual through the foot and other parts of the body, especially, intestine,” he said.
Okafor said that enlightenment campaigns should be carried out in schools, to educate pupils and students on the dangers of open defecation.
“There is need to carry out public education in our schools. We should educate our children to impress on the older people to stop the habit.
“I am sure this will assist to stop the bad habit among the older people,” he said.
Okafor also called for regular water supply and drinking of good water by the people.
He said that such would stop water-borne diseases in the country.
In addition, he said, such facilities must have adequate running water and called on governments at all levels to provide public lavatories and running water in all public institutions, to avoid outbreak of diseases among citizens especially in children.
The survey also revealed that most people indulged in open defecation due to lack of toilet facilities in their houses or work place.
Similarly, there is a dearth of toilets in public places in most major cities and towns across the country.
A 24-year-old mechanic in Port Harcourt, Mr Kingsley Ubah, said that he indulged in open defecation because there was no toilet in his rented apartment.
“Where I live in Diobu, Port Harcourt, there is no toilet in the compound. The tenants resort to self-help by going to other homes, while we defecate in the open near our workshop.
“I am aware it is a bad habit and not environment friendly, but we call on government to ensure that every house has a toilet,” he said.
Also Mr Michael Etim said that most travellers coming into the city with nowhere to stay usually defecate into drains, cellophane bags and on roadside, as there were no public toilets.
“Most people coming into the capital city from rural areas regard open defecation as normal practice.
“Public toilet is necessary at all strategic locations in the metropolis to minimise occurrence of open defecation,” Etim said.
He added that in most rural settings and coastal communities, open defecation in the nearby bush or river bank was a normal culture.
Another respondent, Miss Ekaette Bassey, said that most landlords in cluster areas of the town did not have good toilet system for their tenants.
Bassey said that most residential buildings had over 20 tenants with only one toilet to serve all of them.
She observed that in such compound, people would resort to defecating openly as the toilet facility was insufficient for the occupants.
A nurse, Mrs Tessy Alaba, said, “People who live in densely populated areas and over-populated apartments such as ‘face-me-I-face-you’ are rated high among those that practice open defecation.
“The number of toilet facilities is not adequate for the great number of people living there.
“Again, some houses that were built many years ago may either not have modern toilet facilities or have toilet facilities that are not functional or filled up.
“This compels the occupants to seek alternative defecating places, and this is where the issue of awareness comes in.
“Many people may not be aware of the implications of defecating anyhow and anywhere; more so, some people may know but do not care,’’ Alaba said.
The Lagos State Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Babatunde Adejare, late in 2015, said that the ministry had concluded work on the Master Plan for the provision of public toilets, all over Lagos.
“There is need for provision of public toilets throughout Lagos State, and not just to be restricted to the Parks and Gardens alone.
“The Master Plan contains the sites and locations for public toilets within and around the metropolis.
Adejare said that the ministry would also encourage market women and shop owners to provide mobile toilets for their use, and for the use of their customers.
Similarly, the Jigawa Ministry for Local Government and Community Development said that it was collaborating with Non-Governmental Organisations and other Development Partners to discourage open defecation in the state.
Alhaji Yakubu Auyo, the Director of Primary Health Care in the Ministry, who spoke on behalf of the Commissioner, Alhaji Ahmed Muhammad, told NAN in Dutse that the ministry had established Water and Sanitation Departments in all the 27 local government areas of the state, with a view to ensuring good sanitation of the environment.
He said that N200,000 was earmarked for each of the councils for the monthly sanitation exercise, to ensure a clean environment and campaign against open defecation.
According to him, the council had constructed water and sanitation facilities in the local government areas, to prevent open
defecation in markets, motor parks and places of worship.
The commissioner said that UNICEF was supporting the ministry under the State Hygiene and Water Sanitation in Nigeria (SHAWN) working in some communities to discourage open defecation.
“The organisation also taught the communities how to construct pit latrines.”
In Maiduguri, the Borno State Environmental Protection Agency (BOESPA) said it would employ no fewer than 5,000 additional youths as street vanguards, to check the menace of open defecation and environmental abusers.
The Sole Coordinator of the Agency, Alhaji Nasiru Surundi, told NAN in Maiduguri that the gesture was part of the measures adopted by BOSEPA to discourage such abusers of the environment.
Surundi said that N600 million had been spent on procurement of high-quality sanitation equipment to enhance

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Environment

LG Council Moves To Rid Area Of Shanties

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As part of measures to ride off Eleme Local Government Area of slums and shanties, the council has embarked on the demolition of all illegal structures and shanties.
Executive chairman of the council Hon. Oboritomate Ollor told newsmen during the demolition exercise that the situation was to restore sanity to the area.
Ollor said the proliferation of Shanties in the areas was becoming assort of embarrassment to the council, adding that some of the illegal structures also serve as hide outs to criminals in the areas.
According to him, the council has no choice than to support the effort of this late government to restore sanity to Eleme and its environs.
He said the exercise was never intended to witchhunt or targeted at any ethnic group, but to keep the area safe for investment and businesses to thrive the council boss said the security of lives and prosperity’s sanitation, education and human empowerment will be given due attention by his Administration as urged residents to support the fight against insecurity as no society development in the face of security challenges.
While commending Governor Nyesom Wike for his fight against criminality in the state, Ollor warned criminals to leave Eleme or face the full wrath of the law.
The operation started at Akpajo Junction and ended at Trailer Park.

By: John Bibor

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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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Environment

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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