UNICEF has revealed that about 100 million Nigeria lack access to sanitary toilets, and has blamed the increasing spread of diseases on that.
This is coming as the Federal Government said 2,771 cases of cholera epidemics was reported this year with 124 deaths.
Speaking first at the celebration of World Toilets Day, UNICEF Chief Sanitary, Water and Hygiene Officer, Kannan Nadar described the situation in Nigeria as very critical.
He said, “Nigeria has about one hundred million people without access to toilets, this is worrisome, as it is possible for everyone to own toilet, it doesn’t cost much. “Sanitation and toilets are fundamental human rights. since it is possible for everyone to own toilet, it is not justified for people to die of diseases related to open defecation.”
Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, said the recent occurrence of cholera epidemics could be stopped if there was a mechanism to stop open defecation.
He said, “as many as an estimated 2771 cases and 124 deaths with case fatality rate of 4.5 per cent were reported, this yearly occurrence of cholera epidemics could be stopped if there is a mechanism to stop open defecation which will prevent contamination of water sources and foods that are major causes of cholera in the country.”
Head of Governance, WaterAid Nigeria, Tolani Busari expressed concern that barely two years to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Nigeria was yet to address the problem of poor sanitation.
According to her, “staggering 37 million people still practice open defecation, nearly 100,000 children under the age of five dying of diarrhea in Nigeria every year as a result of poor sanitation and water.”
She expressed concerns over how government was handling of sanitation, arguing that the nation’s poor handling of sanitation issues is not just restricted to hygiene, but that, “without a private toilet, women and girls are vulnerable to violence, intimidation and indignity. Women and girls living in Nigeria without toilet facilities spend about 3.1 billion hours each year finding a place to go to toilet in the open.