There is the risk of possible increase in the level of open defecation in Kano State due to the increase in price charged by public toilet owners across the metropolis.
Kano has a long tradition of having private-owned commercial public toilets built by individuals in public places especially markets and motor parks.
These toilets they call “Gidan Wanka” provide services that include, toilets for defecation and bathrooms for those who may want to shower. They also provide hot water for those who prefer bathing with it.
Observing the operation of a public toilet at Farm Centre Market in Kano, usually, one pays for the service he wants and is given access to the place of his choice available, by the person in charge. Immediately he retires, the cleaners wash the place preparing it for the next user.
These commercial public toilets have reduced open defecation to a large extent in the metropolis although there are spots that people retire to in order to ease themselves in the open, thereby posing defecation challenges.
Due to its mega markets, thousands of people from within Nigeria and the countries troop into Kano on a daily basis to buy and sell. All these people are in need of these services provided by the commercial public toilets.
Those who spend the night in Kano can comfortably pay to take a bath in the morning and also for convenience.
Speaking to LEADERSHIP in Kano, a customer of the commercial public toilet, Malam Bala Saleh who trades at the popular Kantin Kwari Market complained that the rapid increase in the charges by the pubic toilet owners is much.
“What we pay N50 for is now N100 before one can ease himself. One will sometimes be forced to keep shit in his belly until he gets home in the evening or find other means of easing himself.
“Because in a situation where you would repeatedly need the convenience three or four times it means you will spend N300 – N400 just to ease yourself, who can afford this in the current situation?” he said.
The manager of a commercial public toilet at the Farm Centre Market, Malam Isah insisted that the increase is necessary due to the general inflation across the country. He complained that the prices of most of the items they use daily, including soaps, detergents and germicides, have risen by 100 percent, more so, the patronage is less.
“Before the recent increase in the prices of goods in the country due to removal of subsidy, I used to make N15,000 – N20,000 daily but now I hardly make N15,000 daily due to low patronage. We buy soaps, detergents, germicides, fuel for generators and all the prices have risen.
“The situation is bad because it shows that people are opting for open defecation to save money and this is bad for the environment,” he said.
The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) had advised that in order to curb open defecation in the country, 3.9 million public toilets need to be provided annually before 2025.
UNICEF sees the 180,000 – 200,000 toilets annually in Nigeria as grossly inadequate. The Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) National Outcome Routine Mapping puts Nigeria’s sanitation status at 48 million people practicing open defecation, while 95 million are without access to basic sanitation services.