669 LGAs in Nigeria yet to join league of open defecation-free communities – UNICEF

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Nigeria has a shortfall of 669 local government areas yet to attain an open defecation-free status, the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, has lamented.

UNICEF says it might be impossible to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6 by 2030 if the government and relevant stakeholders in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, and WASH, do not mobilise to ensure that the 774 LGAs of the country become open-defecation-free.

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Dr Clement Adams, the Officer in Charge of the UNICEF Bauchi Field Office, raised the concerns, Wednesday at a media dialogue in Azare, Bauchi State, to mark World Toilet Day.

He congratulated the people of Katagum local government area in Bauchi State for becoming the 105th local government area in the country to be certified open defecation-free.

He observed that the majority of the diseases that afflict people can be traced to poor sanitation, saying that not having enough toilets is endangering both humans and the environment and that the statistic is not encouraging.

He said, “Jigawa is the only state in the country that has all its local government areas certified open defecation free but we believe other states can copy from them to ensure the country achieves the Sustainable Development Goal Number 6 by 2030.”

The UNICEF OIC stressed the need for more partnerships with relevant stakeholders, pointing out that governments must ensure all hands are on deck to bridge the gap created by the shortfall.

The Bauchi State Commissioner for Water Resources, Nuhu Zaki, had earlier expressed the state government’s commitment to attain an open defecation-free status across all the 20 LGAs by 2025.

He said it was important to note that the state government was able to deliver 8 local government areas as LGA ODF-wide, these include Dass, Warji, Shira, Gamawa, Bogoro, Ganjuwa, Toro and Katagum local government areas.

He noted that an additional 5,934 communities were open defecation-free, ODF, while two other local government areas were at different levels of becoming ODF, that is Bauchi and Zaki local government areas.

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