According to Nigeria Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Poverty Diagnostics Report the sanitation of the country is in a critical condition. This has become rampant in rural areas and in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps. A Premium Times report shares the experience of those in the IDP camps when it comes open defecation and sanitation.
“We go to the stream, we don’t have water here, even toilets; we usually use the bush. A woman was bitten by a snake while defecating in the bush and another one was bitten when she went to pick firewood for cooking,” Hannatu Peter, an internally displaced person at the New Gongola IDP camp in the Federal Capital Territory, said.
“We want the government to help us, especially on these toilet and water issues. Some women urinate anywhere and get infected; the majority of us are having infections and treating infections in hospitals is quite expensive.”
This outbreak of open defecation experts say has now resulted to waterborne diseases such as cholera and dysentery in such communities, particularly among the children.
The rapid increase in the population of about 183 million is doing more to put more people in extreme poverty as Nigeria has outpaced India as the poverty capital of the world. More people live in extreme poverty in Nigeria more than anywhere in the world.
The Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, warned at the National Council on Water Resources meeting, held in Abuja between November 13 and 15, that if India was able to exit from its number one position in the list of countries with poor sanitation and open defecation by the middle of 2019, it would be a “national shame” for Nigeria not to.
“I was in India recently, the country has been adequately mobilised on issues of sanitation and open defecation. It is, therefore, a civic responsibility for all of us, ” Mr Adamu said.
“Three years ago, only 40 per cent of Indians were using toilets but now, 95 per cent of Indians are practising full sanitation practices.
“The Indians have not only stopped to defecate in the open, they are also recycling their waste into usable products; they have experienced a lot of transformation within three years.
“In the last three years, the Indians have built 80 million toilets; we need this kind of quantum leap in our country.
Credit: Premium Times