Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa
By Festus Ahon, Asaba
Delta State Government has restated its resolve to key into the Federal Government’s plan to end open defecation across the country by the year 2025.
The State Commissioner for Water Resources, Mr Martins Okonta stated this during the opening ceremony of a one-day sensitization workshop of stakeholders on Clean Nigeria Campaign, CNC-“Use the toilet”, held in Asaba.
Okonta said the idea was to end violence against the female gender who were at risk of sexual molestation and rape going in search of places for open defecation that were secluded, mostly during dark hours.
He said: “The Joint Monitoring Programme report of UNICEF has shown that about 46 million Nigerians are still practising open defecation and according to national statistics, 23.1 percent of the rural population in Delta State still practice open defecation besides those in the urban areas.
“By the year 2025, it is estimated that 2, 814, 539 people in the state would be defecating in the open if necessary action is not taken to address the situation immediately”, adding that the resultant negative impact on health could be unprecedented.
He argued that “the elimination of open defecation is the main aim of improving access to sanitation worldwide and in Delta State in particular, and is one of the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals.
“However, in an attempt to ameliorate the situation, the Federal Government has developed a National Road map to eradicate open defecation by 2025 and has been adopted by the National Council on Water Resources as a tool to stop open defecation as the various states are required to domesticate it”.
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Also speaking, the General Manager, Rural Water Supply Sanitation Agency, RUWASSA, Mr Clement Adiotomre, disclosed that Delta State was working hard to domesticate it through a campaign tagged: ‘Build and Use a toilet’, stressing that the workshop was meant to sensitize desk officers in the 25 local government areas of the state.
Adiotomre said: “Why do we want to sensitize them? Because there will be a launch/flag-off of Clean Nigeria Campaign in Delta by the Governor in October 2020. We will do a review of the Open Defecation Free, ODF which will be heralded by the launch”.
The representative of CNC, Offiono Susan, expressed hope that the local government desk officers would take back what the have learnt and implement same in their communities, describing them as the CNC front Ambassadors being the ones that have contacts directly with the communities.