BusinessDay
NigeriaDecides2023

Oyo third highest in prevalence rate of open defecation, says UNICEF

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) is partnering Oyo State Government to put a permanent end to the act of open defecation which is very rampant in the state.

Jane Bevan, chief of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) of UNICEF, who disclosed this at a one-day media dialogue on the launch of open defecation-free roadmap in Oyo State, said this act has continued to expose the society to danger and outbreak of diseases which can be prevented if each house has its own toilet.

Speaking at the launch of the roadmap in Ibadan, Bevan said: “This barbaric act is very dangerous to our health and could lead to all forms of water-borne diseases such as cholera, typhoid and other diseases that could be contacted from contaminated water, adding that proper hygiene and clean environment were necessary to ensure a healthy society.

It should be noted that the World Health Organisation (WHO) under the Global Actions Plans Millennium Development Goals revealed that over 2.3 billion people have no access to improved toilet facilities (flush, latrine or pit latrine)and nearly 892 million of the total world population still practice open defecation and WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitisation also rated Oyo State as third highest in the prevalence rate of open defecation in Nigeria.

Bevan further that that the research been conducted showed that half of the residents of Oyo State engage in open defecation and this is what prompted the Open Defecation Free (ODF) Roadmap saying the major objective of this program is to totally eradicate the act of open defecation in Oyo State and to ensure that each house has its own toilet.

The Chief of WASH, UNICEF therefore, called on all affected stakeholders especially the media to spread this campaign as a matter of urgency and beckon on the government to take all necessary actions that will make residents of Oyo State stop the act of open defecation that has eaten deep into their system.

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Omirinde Najeem, the Oyo State Chairman of Rural Water Supply and Sanitisation Agency (RUWASA), while addressing the press during the programme, said the government is making serious effort to ensure that Oyo State is clean and healthy for the residents saying the government will not relent in educating the masses on why each house must have its own toilet and also enforce compliance.

He stressed that the dangers attributed to open defecation are enormous and Children are usually the most affected whenever there is outbreak of disease.

The state Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Wasiu Olatubosun, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry said the government will soon make it compulsory for each house to have its own toilet and any house that refuse to comply will face the law.

He therefore appreciates UNICEF for supporting Oyo State Government in bringing an end to the act of open defecation that is very rampant in the state.

However, Oyo State government has warned residents of the state to desist from dumping their refuse in the waterways, as the action lead to the damage of major roads.

Ogunlade Soladoye, chairman, Oyo State Road Maintenance Agency (OYSROMA), gave the caution while on inspection of roads along Ibadan metropolis with a team of engineers and management members of the agency.

Among the roads inspected are Liberty road, Molete – Challenge road, Mobil – Oluyole – Apata roads and he directed that the Bill of Engineering Measurement and Evaluation (BEME) be prepared for immediate repair of the damaged parts of the roads.

Ogunlade mentioned that the tour was necessitated because of various complaints about potholes on various roads from residents on radio and the Oyo state Government Feedback on the social media platforms.

He mentioned that the government has invested huge funds on road projects and for the road to last, proper maintenance must be in place from the government and residents, who are the major beneficiaries of the projects.

The OYSROMA boss promised that the agency, under his supervision, will adhere strictly to the present government’s policy of ‘Operation Zero Tolerance for Potholes’ across the state, adding that rehabilitation would commence in due course.

Ogunlade commended Governor Seyi Makinde’s administration for embarking on what he called legacy projects, such as massive road construction and rehabilitation, which he said has placed Oyo State on the global map.

“When roads are constructed and become motorable, investors would be willing to invest in the State’s economy, thereby creating job opportunities for the teeming youths in the State and this agency, under my supervision, will adhere strictly to the present government’s policy of ‘Operation Zero Tolerance for Potholes’ across the State, adding that rehabilitation would commence in due course.”

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