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
Stakeholders Identify Cause Of Open Defecation’s High Rate …Fingers Lack Of Toilet Facilities
As Rivers State and Nigeria joined the rest of the world to mark the World Toilet Day, some stakeholders in Rivers State are blaming the high rate of open defecation on the lack of toilet facilities in strategic locations across the state.
A cross section of stakeholders, who spoke to, The Tide correspondents on the issue said “most public and private places have no toilet facilities, stressing that the situation makes some people to defecate in the open.
They stressed the need for the government and private sectors to provide toilet facilities in places such as markets, parks, schools, stadia, among others.
They also called for sensitization on the negative effects of open defecation.
On his part, Mr. Innocent Ezekiel, a food vendor at Mile I flyover said “people at the park need to be enlightened on why they should not defecate openly, adding that inspite of the fact that there was a toilet facility, people at the Park go about defecating openly.
According to him, it is very disheartening to see people around the park go about defecating openly when they know very well that there is a public toilet around the Park.
Also speaking, another trader Mr Ifeanyi Ugwu, said: “open defecation brings discomfort, stressing that there is a need for people to be sensitised to know that indiscriminate disposal of faeces can lead to cholera, diahorea, typhoid and other diseases.
Also speaking, Mr Innocent Okorie, called for a law that will punish defecating in the open. According to him, most health related issues have been linked to open defecation stressing that time has come for the government to go tough on those who defecate openly.
For Michael Prince, he stated thus: The government should provide toilets at every corner. “the reason why people defecate around this area is because the government did not provide any toilet facility.”
On his part, Mr James Friday, called for collaboration between the state government and the various local government councils in the provision of toilet facilities across the state.
Friday also stressed the need for high level sensitization in the riverine local government areas with a view to persuading the people to change their habit of defecating into the river.
Also speaking, Chukwuemeka Iruozo, said the sooner Rivers State key into the clean Nigeria programme, the better will be for the society.
Iruozo also called for stiffer penalties for persons who embark in open defecation.
By: Chioma Miracle Peters & Odinakachi Oko
World Toilet Day: Akulga To End Open Defecation By 2023
The Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State says it will end open defecation in all communities in the area by 2023.
The Council Chairman, Hon. Roland Sekibo, said this in Abonnema headquarters of the local government council, during the 2019 World Toilet Day celebration in the area.
Sekibo who was represented by the vice chairman of the council, Mrs Carolina West, said the council is committed towards ending open defecation in the area.
According to him, as part of the commitment, a bill to criminalise open defecation has been sent to the local government legislative assembly.
The council also sponsored students from the area to the national open defecation quiz competition in which the students came with flying colours.
In her keynote address, the wife of the council chairman, Mrs Binaebi Sekibo said ending open defecation in the area will lead to a 36 per cent reduction in death especially among children under five years of age.
Mrs Sekibo represented by Hon. Tobins Tobins said the council can also end open defecation by stopping the construction of new pier latrines and dismantling the existing ones, through the construction of eco-friendly latrines.
According to her; ending this practice would transform the lives of women and girls, who face the daily indignity of finding somewhere to go each day for their basic needs, risking sexual harassment and abuse for not having a toilet.
“We will change the lives for the many girls who abandon schools due to the lack of basic menstrual hygiene and sanitation activities” she said.
She however expressed hope that with the progress made so far, the area would soon become Open Defecation Free (ODF).
“We are making progress. Communities such as; Obonnoma, Soku, Elem Sungama, Offoin Ama and Idama have been declared open defecation free courtesy of UNICEF-NDSP,” “she said.
Also speaking, the General Manager of the Rivers State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation agency (RUWASSA), Mr. Napoleon Adah, thanked the council or the effort to make AKULGA open defecation free.
Adah, who was represented by Mrs Safe Hart said the celebration was to ensure that no one is left behind.
According to him, it is a celebration to promote good hygiene practices, stressing that time has come for everyone’s in the area to key into the campaign.
Earlier, the coordinator of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) unit AKULGA, Mrs Ifeoma Nwogu, said children and youths are worst affected by inadequate sanitation and open defecation.
While thanking the council chairman for the event, Nwogu stressed the need for the celebration to be held annually in the area.
Rivers Environment, Ogoni Clean-Up Top Discussions At Correspondents’ Week
Rivers State Environment, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Report and Ogoni clean-up will top discussions at the 2019 Press Week of the Correspondent Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).
This was contained in a statement, jointly signed by Ignatius Chukwu, Chairman, organising committee and Ernest Chinwo, Chairman correspondent Chapel of the NUJ.
According to the statement, the theme of the week is: ‘Role of Media in the Rivers Environment.’
This is expected to help us take closer look at environment issues and examine our role in fighting for a better environment.” it said.
The opening ceremony of the week is expected to hold today, Port Harcourt at the Hotel Presidential, with Ibofiri Bobmanuel, Chief Executive Officer, Bobmanuel Tractor Limited as chairman.
An environmental rights activist, Celestine Akpobari will deliver a technical paper on Rivers Environment, while Dr. Ferdinand Giadom, an environment expert from the University of Port Harcourt, will review the paper.
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