By Habibu Harisu
Sokoto, Sept. 2, 2020 The National Orientation Agency (NOA), has commenced active community engagements against open defecations in rural communities in Sokoto State.
The state Director of NOA, Alhaji Maude Danchadi disclosed this at a stakeholders meeting on ‘Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet’ campaign, held on Wednesday in Sokoto.
He said that the campaign was in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources.
He said that NOA would deploy its robust structures and officials in local government areas to promote reorientation and mobilise Nigerians for social change and prevention of open defecations.
Danchadi noted that open defecation and poor sanitation have implication on public health, especially in the outbreak of water-borne diseases, and high mortality rate in rural areas.
According to him, the campaign will be implemented in phases, adding that property owners, women and youth groups, policy makers, family heads among others are targeted in the exercise.
“We strive to ensure that all public places including schools, hotels, fuel stations, places of worship, market places, offices and hospitals have access to toilets,” he said.
Mrs Ambrose Nnaji-Chinyere, a representative of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, said that the campaign was all about behavioral change and ensuring that all Nigerians build and use toilets, in line with Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) model.
Nnaji-Chinyere said that collaboration with the private sector was in top gear, adding that the stakeholders meeting is centered on providing free water for toilet business, to improve sanitation and hygiene.
She said this would in turn promote sustainability as funds generated would be used for maintaining such facilities and promoting overall wellbeing of the society.
Nnaji-Chinyere said the “Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet” campaign was initiated to address the current indices which places the country highest number of persons defecating in the open globally.
According to her, ending open defecation was not just about access to toilets, but about generating demand for toilets and changing people’s behavior regarding toilet usage.
“The Clean Nigeria campaign is a transformational and behavior change campaign that seeks to mobilise high level political support, resources and the entire populace towards building a culture of safe sanitation.
“This will require the contribution and commitment of everyone, government at all levels, civil society, private sector, development partners and the entire populace.
” Open defecation contributes to exposing young girls to sexual violence and breed other health risks, ” she said.
Officials of Sokoto Rima Basin Development Authority and Sokoto State Water and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA) also attended the stakeholders meeting.