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Open defecation: Over 47m Nigerians lack basic toilet facilities…UNICEF
OVER 47 million Nigerians lack access to basic toilet facilities according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF),
Raphael Nwozor, a Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) specialist with UNICEF, made this known during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja in observance of the World Toilet Day which is celebrated every November 19.
Nwozor said it was sad and unacceptable that Nigeria is rated as the country with the second largest number of open defecation, after India.
“Over 47 million Nigerians do not have access to basic toilet facility and the commemoration of the day is to re-echo the fact that good toilet facility is a basic human need,” Nwozor said.
“The day is also to emphasise the need for every family, individual within the community, to at least, have access to toilet facilities.
“Some people see the building of toilets in homes as taboos. To them defecating in a toilet where you live is an animalistic behaviour and hence they prefer using the bush.
“Some people or culture see constructing toilet facilities at home as defecating in your dwelling place and that it is not ideal.
“Due to such perceptions, human beings should not defecate in their dwelling place, utilise the bush and rivers around them while undermining the consequence.”
Nwozor, however, recognised the efforts being made by the federal government to ensure that Nigeria is declared “Open Defecation Free” (ODF) by 2025, one of which was the recent declaration of a state of emergency in the WASH sector.
Such efforts, according to Nwozor, require the concerted efforts of everyone, not only the federal and state governments, but also the private sector, media as well as communities.
He identified some health implications of open defecation as diarrhoea, cholera, typhoid and malaria, among others, adding that having good toilet facility was a fundamental human right which every government should ensure it provides its citizens.