By: Oji Moses
The FCT Administration has called on residents of the Federal Capital Territory to work towards bringing to end the practice of open in the Territory.
The Director of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), Engr. Osi Braimah, made this call while marking this year’s World Toilet Day at Galadimawa community in the FCT.
The Director said that a little over two billion people World wide have no access to toilets with Nigeria contributing forty-seven million to this unsavoury statistic.
His words: “About 47 million Nigerians still practice open defecation, urination, poor sanitation and hygiene practices. In the Federal Capital Territory which is the seat of power, about 50 percent of the residents still defecate openly due to challenges of non-provision of toilets in different homes as well as public places within the FCT.”
“As you are aware, government cannot provide enough toilets for all residents. The communities and individuals should help in providing modern toilets in their existing houses and also include it in their new building plans thereby helping curb the menace and backward practice of open defecation”, he added.
According to him, open defecation and urination poses health threats and leads to outbreaks of diseases like cholera, diarrhea, diphtheria, water and air pollution; saying someone can even be bitten by snakes and scorpions while excreting in the bush.
The Director stated that the purpose of this year’s theme, which is ‘Accelerating Change’ is to inspire action towards tackling the global sanitation crises and help achieve the Sustainable Development Goal that is about clean water, sanitation and to end open defecation by 2030.
“As you can see, by this global set goal, Nigeria need to work five times as hard as possible to see that we meet up with other nation in having a world free of open defecation and its attendant health challenges. We must not be left behind but must change our attitude and culture of going into nearby bush to evacuate”, he said.
“We are here to draw the attention of the people who are being left behind without sanitation to the social, economic and environmental consequences of inaction. The culture of using bushes around residential areas has to stop”, the Director emphasized.
He assured that the message shall be taken to other communities and public places like schools, markets because the FCT Administration is committed to addressing open defecation and sanitation challenges in the FCT in line with the President’s declaration of state of emergency on water, sanitation and hygiene across the nation.
Earlier in his welcome address, the District Head of Galadimawa, Alhaji Musa Barde, thanked the Abuja Environmental Protection Board in its efforts of working to stem the practice of open defecation and for choosing his community to mark the 2023 World Toilet Day.