The Federal Ministry of Water Resources has declared seven local government areas in Katsina and Benue states Open-Defecation-Free (ODF), having met the requirement slated in the ODF protocol for hygiene promotion.
Emmanuel Awe, Director, Water Quality Supply and Sanitation, Federal Ministry of Water Resources, declared the areas ODF on Thursday after it met the stipulated requirement.
The areas include: Bakori, Musawa, Matazu, Safana and Sandamu LGAs in Katsina while Oju and Konshisha LGAs in Benue respectively.
Newsmen reports that before attaining the ODF status, communities would have eliminated open defecation and imbibed total sanitation practices, which include personal, environmental and domestic hygiene.
The communities would have also had 100 per cent toilet use and increased ownership and sustainability of hygiene and sanitation services.
According to him, these achievement earns the country a total of 27 LGAs as at May 28, 2020.
“The states had also recommended that the National Task Group on Sanitation to validate their status, and we have considered the report of the committee who went on validation.
“These seven LGAs have now changed their status from Open defecation to ODF, thereby increasing the total number of LGAs that are ODF to 27 in the country.
“I urge all stakeholders to continue with these accomplishments and aspire to end open defecation practice in the country”.
Mr Awe said the benefits of access to improved WASH, especially of living in an open defecation free environments, impacts on education, health, security and socioeconomic wellbeing of the people.
While commending efforts of development partners in scaling up access to improved hygiene, the director, urged the members of ODF community to remain steadfast to promote sustainable development.
He said it was unfortunate that Nigeria found herself on the top of the ladder of countries with the highest number of people practicing open defecation, second behind India and the first in Africa.