The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) says that Nigeria has the highest rate of open defecation in the World.
UNICEF Chief of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Jane Bevan, made the disclosure during a two-day media dialogue on open defecation organised by UNICEF in collaboration with the Child Rights Information Bureau (CRIB) of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture in Biu, Borno State.
Represented by UNICEF Nigeria WASH Specialist, Chisom Adimorah, she said Nigeria has been among the top five open defecators in the world for the past 15 years, moving from 5th place in 2003, second place in 2015 and now first place in 2023 with the eradication of open defecation in India in 2019.
She said there were 47 million open defecators in Nigeria, 20 million in Ethiopia, 17 million in Indonesia, 16 million in Pakistan and 16 million in Nigeria.
She warned that Nigeria might miss the target of 2025 and 2030.
She added that only 102 of 774 local government areas representing 13% are certified Open Defecation Free (ODF) in the country, adding that 24 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) had no ODF validated local government area.
“There is a need to strengthen and scale up proven strategies to reach the country’s goals,” she said.
UNICEF Nigeria WASH Specialist, Lonis Salihu, said Borno State was developing a Roadmap for it to become open defecation free.
He said due to UNICEF supported interventions, Biu and Shani LGAs out of the 27 LGAs in the state had been declared open defecation free.
“Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach has been adopted and has played a significant role in reducing the open defecation status,” he said.