Open Defecation in Action

The Cross River State government has promised to ensure that all the local government in the state are Open Defecation Free (ODF).

It said five local government areas has certified open defecation free (ODF) out of ten in the entire state, the state seems to be on the path to be the first to be declared ODF in the entire country.

The local government include Bekwrara, Obanliku, Yakurr, Ikom, and Iyala. It said the government was committed to sanitation and hygiene and would do all it can to support them.

Project Manager of the CRISPIN Project, Mr. Oliver Okon, said ODF means every household and institution has ended the practice of open defecation, they have constructed and use basic and improved facilities.

He said the project, which has United Purpose as the executing agency, was funded by the United Kingdom through the UKAID Direct Impact Project. Minister of Water Resources, Engr Suleman Adamu, however, regretted that despite the efforts put in so far, 47 million Nigerians are currently practicing open defecation, making it the country with the highest number in Africa and second in the world.

Adamu said more than two-thirds of the population is without access to basic sanitation facilities. He said while the country has made significant progress in the provision of safe water supply in the past decade, which has contributed to the socio-economic development and poverty reduction, the same could not be said of sanitation of hygiene.

The Minister, who was represented by Engr Emma Eze, said though there is a roadmap to eliminate open defecation in the country by 2025 which was launched in 2016, the operationalization of the roadmap has been slow.

He said through the implementation of the Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach by sub-national governments and partners, 10 local governments in the country have so far been certified ODF, out of which Cross River has five.

Programme Manager of United Purpose, Nanpet Chuktu, expressed gratitude to all who contributed to the success and urged the communities who attained the status to also work towards sustaining it.

The head of local government administration of both local governments expressed gratitude and promised to work hard to sustain the status.