Suleiman Adamu, the Minister of Water Resources, announced on Tuesday that over 47 million Nigerians still practice open defecation.
Adamu, who revealed this at a water sector workshop in Abuja, lamented that Nigeria would soon overtake India as the leading country in open defecation in the world unless concerted efforts were taken to reverse the ugly trend.
According to him, “I wish to draw your attention to the challenges facing water resources sector in Nigeria.
“Nigeria occupies second position among the countries that are practicing open defecation. Nigeria is the first in Africa.
“It is only 10 local government areas in Nigeria that have been certified open defecation-free. We are going to scale up campaign against open defecation.
“If India exits from open defecation by October this year, Nigeria is likely to going to occupy the first position if concerted efforts are not made to reverse this situation. It will be shameful for us.”
He expressed the irrevocable commitment of the Federal Government to ending open defecation by 2025, urging the media to support the government for overall national development.
Commenting on the action taken by the Federal Ministry of Water Resources after the declaration of state of emergency on sanitation and potable water by President Muhammadu Buhari in November 2018, the minister said action plan has been developed, adding that already work had begun on the sensitisation of state governments on the need to give priority attention to sanitation and provision of potable water.
He noted that a national workshop would soon be held for all the Commissioners for Water Resources in all the States of the Federation as part of measures to sensitise them and ensure sustainable water sector development.
He further revealed that a team from the Federal Ministry of Water Resources visited India to understudy how the country is aggressively working to exit from open defecation, assuring that the knowledge acquired during the visit would be replicated in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, Adamu has disclosed that the Federal Government has begun ‘partial privitisation’ of River Basins Development Authorities across the country.
This move, he explained, was intended to make them to perform optimally as well as ensuring that the impact of their activities was felt.