Katsina State governor, Aminu Bello Masari, yesterday said open defecation could be stamped out in the country as a more populous nation, India, celebrates the feat at this point in time.
Masari, who spoke in Katsina while declaring a state of emergency on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector and campaign against open defecation in the state, said it has become imperative for Nigeria with a population of about 200 million which is less than that of a single state in India to stamp out open defecation.
“If India can be open defecation free and we know the impact of that on health and development and also as a measure of the socio-economic situation of our population, I think will do well because Nigeria stands to benefit from international organisations and even in the health situation of our people,” he said.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had in November 2018 declared state of emergency on WASH sector in the country and charged state governments to domesticate the declaration of emergency in WASH sector in their respective states.
The governor, who emphasized the correlation between access to improved water supply and the United Nations declaration against open defecation, said his administration has invested significantly through effective partnership with UNICEF/DFID to procure 3,500 hand pump bore holes, 100 solar motorized bore holes and over 450 latrines constructed in rural communities across the state since 2015.
“In the area of sanitation and hygiene, the state government has done very well as a result of which over 3000 communities across the 26 SHWAN local government areas of the state were declared open defecation free.
“In addition, Katsina State has the largest number of communities certified as open defecation free communities in Nigeria. Also, the recent published World Bank report on the NORM survey indicates that Katsina State has the highest percentage of safely managed sanitation in Nigeria,” he revealed.
Masari, who is to chair the inter-ministerial steering committees on WASH to be set up by the Katsina State Ministry of Water Resources following his declaration of the state of emergency on the WASH sector and campaign against open defecation, directed the relevant Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) to launch sector reform via the adoption of state level action plan (ODF roadmap including WASH state investment plan and participate in accessing the National WASH fund at the Federal Ministry of Water Resources.