Open defecation: Nigeria ranks No. 1 in the world — Minister

The Federal Government has said Nigeria now ranks number one in the world with people practicing open defecation.

The Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, disclosed this while declaring open a two-day Private Sector Forum on Sanitation, on Monday in Abuja.

The forum was organised by Organised Private Sector on Sanitation with the theme, ‘Coordinating Indigenous Private Sector Initiatives to End Open Defecation in Nigeria.’

On October 2, India stopped being the world number one country with the highest number of people practising open defecation in the world.

According to Adamu, Nigeria currently ranks number one in terms of the number of people practicing open defecation in Africa, as approximately 47 million people do not have access to sanitation services in its most basic form.

He said that the Sustainable Development Goal six is aimed at ensuring availability of WASH services as well as the sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030.

He said that the SDGs, Target 6.2 also focused on achieving access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and to end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations.

Adamu said that although the SDGs have stipulated these targets, they have also highlighted some hurdles that would require collaborative efforts to overcome them “which is our concern for the course of this workshop’’.

The minister however, said that the role of the private sector in the revitalisation of the WASH sector would not be overlooked as the engine for economic growth and key players to creating innovative structures that pertains to the financing of WASH services.

Mr Benson Attach, the National Coordinator, Society for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (NEWSAN) said it was committed to supporting the Federal Government, private sector and other partners in addressing the issues of WASH in the country.

“We want to call on all partners to ensure that we avoid those issues that will not keep us on track and let us also access the challenges and come up with strategies that will enable us achieve Open Defecation Free by 2025,” he said.

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