The Federal Ministry of Water Resources says no fewer than 50 per cent of FCT residents defecate openly due to the challenge of non-availability of toilets in public places.
The ministry’s Director, Water Quality Control and Sanitation, Mr Emmanuel Awe, said this at the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) Meeting with Head Teachers of Primary Schools in the FCT.
According to him, the data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in collaboration with UNICEF, had conducted the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) NORM survey in Nigeria to collect latest information on improved water access.
`The data also showed that no fewer than 47 million Nigerians are involved in open defecation, and poor sanitation and hygiene practices.’’
He noted that available data showed that the North Central part of the country has the largest population of open defecation practice, calling for collective action to halt this narrative.
He said the meeting was apt and in line with the current efforts of the ministry to scale up access to water and sanitation in the county.
He said the data also showed that young persons, including school children who spent one quarter of their time in the school environment ought to have access to toilets, if open defecation practice can stop.
“It is very sad from available data from WASH Norms that the north central part of the country has the largest population of open defecation practices, Abuja is part of it.
” It is worthy to note that we are all affected by open defecation practice one way or the other, even if you don’t practice it, your driver, people around do it, so, we must all rise up to change the culture of open defecation.”
The director said that efforts of the Federal Government to end open defecation practice includes the inauguration of the Open Defecation Free Roadmap by 2025, and the “Clean Nigeria, Use a Toilet” Campaign.
He said that this would emphasis behaviour change for people to build, use their toilets and efficient application of resources toward the improvement of access to WASH services in Nigeria.
Earlier, the WASH Ambassador, Ms Ebele Okeke, noted that sanitation and hygiene were critical and central to the health of the children, saying it was key to social, economic development of the country.
She said that the meeting was a call to action to the need for safe drinking water, basic sanitation and hygiene practices, stressing that no fewer than 50 per cent of schools lack improved sanitation facilities.
“It is clear that the challenges posed by sanitation and hygiene in schools can only be successfully addressed through the collaborative efforts of the parents and teachers of the children.
“It is therefore important that we collectively work towards providing focus and direction for the implementation of hygiene practices for the school environment.”
Okeke pledged the commitment of the WSSCC to continue to lead advocacy to scale up access to potable water and sanitation for the benefit of school children.
Dr Priscilla Achakpa, the former National Coordinator, WSSCC Nigeria, noted that maintaining proper sanitation and hygiene in schools was very important to increasing lifespan and reaping economic benefits for them and the society.
She expressed worry that many institutions such as; schools, markets, religious place of worship, hospitals do not have access to clean and adequate toilets, saying hand washing practice was also nonexistent.
“Many school children practice open defecation as a result of poor condition of WASH in schools, inadequate water, separate toilets for boys and girls.
“Sanitary disposal and hand washing facilities in schools discourages children, especially girls from attending school full time during their menstruation and forces some to even drop out from school.”
Achakpa added that improving WASH conditions would be beneficial in economic development, increased productivity in girls and women and also reduce mortality and morbidity rates.
She also urged school heads to ensure continuous advocacy for increased WASH facilities and also enlighten other teachers on hygiene promotion.
Federal legislators sympathise with victims of flood in Niger State
By Rita Iliya
Alhaji Abdullahi Sabi, the Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate spoke with journalists on Tuesday shortly after a meeting with Gov. Abubakar Bello of Niger.
Sabi said that the National Assembly was concerned about the continuous flooding being experienced in the state.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the legislators consisting of three senators and 10 House of Representatives members came to pay sallah homage to the governor.
Sabi said that the members would support the victims and approach the National Emergency Management Agency for assistance.
“The incident is an unfortunate one especially since it was long we had flood within Minna town.
“We will give our own support to the affected persons to bring succour to them,” he said.
Sabi, who promised that the matter would be brought before the Senate after resumption from break, said plans were on ground to get a legislative framework that would address the issue of flooding.
He called for attitudinal change toward indiscriminate dumping of refuse in flood plains and channels.
Sabi urged relevant environmental agencies to take proactive measures by enlightening the people on the risks involved in dumping of refuse in drainage.
“We have witnessed attacks and kidnappings, especially in Zone B, and we are concerned about it.
“We will continue to give our contributions to come to a resolution on the security challenges across the country,” he said.
Flood ravages 10 out of 17 Yobe LGAs—Official
Yobe government on Tuesday said no fewer than 3,000 houses in 10 out of the 17 local government areas in the state were affected by flood.
Dr Mohammed Goje, the Executive Secretary, State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), said this on Tuesday in Kalalawa, while distributing relief materials to victims of floods.
Goje said the flood destroyed many houses and farmlands with most of the victims taking shelter with their relations in the communities.
He said government had provided food items, roofing materials, beddings and clothings among others to cushion the effect of hardship suffered by the victims.
“We have profiled the victims and provided them with relief materials in all the affected areas.
“Here in Kalalawa, there are 90 victims and every beneficiary received one bag of rice, two bundles of roofing sheets, 30 pieces of roofing woods, nails, mats, blankets and cooking oil,” he said.
Goje urged the people to evacuate all blockages on waterways, stressing that it had become necessary to reduce the effects of the floods as more rains were expected before the end of the season.
The secretary appealed to humanitarian partners to support government’s efforts by providing the victims with relief materials to improve their lives.
Some of the victims, who spoke with the Nigeria News Agency , commended the state government for providing them with relief materials.
Malam Mbomberi Kalalawa, a 70 year old visually impaired flood victim said “government’s intervention at this crucial moment is timely and it saved many lives,” he said.
Kulu Ali, a house wife whose house was also washed away by the floods, commended the state government for the intervention and the community for accommodating the victims.
Flood threatens cemetery, 2 villages in Jigawa
High water level in Hadejia River in Jigawa is threatening to wash away Hadejia Central Cemetery and Aguyaka and Guduchi villages.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the rise in the water level was triggered by days of heavy rain in the area.
Speaking with newsmen on Tuesday in Hadejia, Alhaji Abdullahi Mohammad, the Council’s Chairman, expressed concern over the development.
“If this heavy rain continues, I assure you our cemetery as well as Aguyaka and Guduchin villages along the stretch of the Hadejia River will be washed away,” he said.
“I am appealing for support from the state government and non-governmental organisations to deal with this threat, perhaps by providing heavy equipment that can assist in building bigger and stronger embankment.
“On our part, we distributed thousands of sacks to residents to erect sand-bag embankment at the river.
“We engaged many youths in this exercise across this area; but the truth is dealing with this crises is beyond our capacity,” the chairman said.
Agency warns developers against building on waterways
The Awka Capital Territory Development Authority(ACTDA) has called on developers operating in the state to desist from erecting structures on the waterways, saying such could lead to flooding.
Its Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Ven. Amaechi Okwuosa, told the Nigeria News Agency in Awka on Tuesday that the state capital, Akwa, was repleted with such recklessness on the part of developers.
Okwuosa described the act as flouting the state’s building laws as it was usually done without approval from the ACTDA, the agency in charge of development in the capital city of Anambra.
According to him, the act is unpatriotic and disheartening, warning developers operating in the state to henceforth desist from such act.
Okwuosa said that some developers do erect structures on the waterways without giving consideration to its future implications and consequences the residents would face in due course.
“Those buildings erected on waterways wreak havoc whenever it rains, this will not continue as the agency is determined to rid the city of all forms of illegal structures henceforth,” he said.
Okwuosa said that human life was more important than structures, advising land developers in the state to always obtain approvals before engaging in building construction.
He said that the agency was ready to demolish structures marked for removal henceforth, and urged developers to ensure they follow due process to avoid demolition.
Okwuosa said that structures marked either for demolition or adjustment by the agency would be removed by their owners.
He said if they failed by violating the order, such owners would be prosecuted, while the agency would remove such at their expense.
The chief executive officer said the agency had been visiting some areas where flood had wreaked havoc to destroy such 0buildings erected on the waterways in the state.
He appealed to developers to always consider safety of the people.
Okwuosa said that some buildings like parameter fence, a school, church, uncompleted building, among others, built on waterways had been marked for demolition and or adjustment by the ACTDA.
Imminent flooding: NEMA urges local governments to set up LEMAs
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has urged the local government councils in the country to set up and equip their Local Emergency Management Agencies (LEMAs) to respond to disaster situations.
Anusim spoke on the sideline of the agency’s ongoing programme to sensitise residents of Enugu State living in low land areas about the impending flooding as predicted by experts.
The National Meteorological Agency (NiMet) and the National Hydrological Service Agency (NIHSA) had warned of flooding in some states of the federation, including Enugu.
The coordinator said that LEMAs ought to be the first responders to any disaster or emergency situations before the State Emergency Management Agencies (SEMAs) and NEMA.
“For instance, we have concluded sensitisation in communities in the five council areas of Enugu state living in low land areas about two weeks ago.
“The councils are Enugu east, Enugu south, Uzo Uwani, Igbo Etti and Enugu north,” Anusim said.
He said that the people were sensitised on the need to relocate to upland areas and remain alert about the impending flood in collaboration with Enugu SEMA and council chairmen.
Anusim said that council chairmen should continue where NEMA and SEMA stopped.
“They should ensure that their people do the needful and avoid an avoidable devastation and destruction of lives and property in their areas.
“However, the council chairmen needed an effective LEMA to carry on from where we stopped and attend to other unforeseen disaster situations in their various council areas.
“Federal Government cannot do it all. It requires everybody’s effort, especially the locals and the local authorities,’’ he said.
Anusim promised that NEMA would continue to monitor and partner all willing disaster management agencies and organisations to ensure a win-win situation for all Nigerians, irrespective of their place of abode.