As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to commemorate the 2018 World Toilet Day, the Osun government says it is partnering with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the European Union to end open defecation in the state.
The General Manager of Osun Rural Water and Environmental Sanitation (RUWESA), Alhaji Posi Adiatu, stated this at a programme to mark the World Toilet Day in Oyan, Odo-Otin Local Government Area of the state.
Adiatu said before the commencement of EU/UNICEF Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Reform Programme II in the state in 2013, more than 85 of the 130 elementary and middle schools in the three focus local councils of Ayedaada, Odo-Otin and Ifedayo lacked basic water, sanitation and hygiene.
He also said: “Due to this unfortunate situation, pupils of these schools were left with no alternative than to practise open defecation when nature calls.
“As a result of this, there was prevalence of outbreak of diseases.
“Today, with the massive construction of gender segerated toilets, boreholes and hand-washing facilities in schools through the intervention of EU/UNICEF, more than 65 of these schools now enjoy provision of good toilets, clean water supply and hand washing facilities.”
Adiatu, who noted that 58 per cent of all diarrhoea cases were due to poor hygiene, sanitation and unsafe water, said the state government would continue to partner with international agencies to end open defecation in the state.
Earlier in her remarks, Mr Rebecca Akinduro, the UNICEF consultant for Odo-Otin Local Government Area, said more than 166 rural communities had been declared open defecation free.
Akinduro said that the local government, in collaboration with UNICEF, had been working tirelessly to ensure that each household has access to toilets and latrines.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the highlight of the programme was the inauguration of two blocks of toilets at Saint Peters Middle school where the programme took place.
NAN also reports that the theme of this year’s celebration is: ‘When Nature Calls’.