In a startling revelation, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has disclosed that a staggering 48 million Nigerians are compelled to defecate in the open due to inadequate access to proper toilet facilities.
This revelation came to light during the inaugural Toilet Business Owners Conference, themed “Providing the Toilet Nigeria Needs to End Open Defecation: The Role of TBOS,” held at the Bolton White Hotel in Abuja.
Ogochukwu Adimorah, a Programme Specialist at UNICEF, highlighted the distressing reality during the conference, emphasizing the dire consequences of the lack of suitable sanitation options.
Adimorah stressed that the number of individuals resorting to open defecation could be traced back to the absence of sufficient toilet facilities.
Additionally, she revealed that even among the 90 million Nigerians who have access to toilets, there is a pressing need to enhance toilet sanitation standards, as indicated by a recent study conducted on toilet and sanitation conditions in the country.
Quoting the study, Adimorah explained that 60% of toilet owners in Nigeria require the evacuation of their facilities, while only 45% of toilets are readily evacuable. These figures demonstrate the urgent need for improved sanitation practices among the population.
Moreover, Adimorah revealed a staggering statistic, stating that Nigerian households spent a total of N2.3 billion on toilet emptying in 2021 alone, underscoring the financial burden associated with inadequate sanitation infrastructure.
In terms of geographical distribution, Adimorah lamented that out of Nigeria’s 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs), only 102 have been declared open-defecation free.
This leaves a staggering 672 LGAs vulnerable to open defecation, indicating the scale of the problem that needs to be addressed urgently.
Prior to Adimorah’s remarks, Jane Bevan, Chief of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) at UNICEF, shed light on Nigeria’s current construction rate of toilets.
She revealed that the country currently constructs approximately 180,000 to 200,000 toilets annually, which falls significantly short of the required number to tackle the prevailing sanitation challenge.
Bevan emphasized the critical importance of the conference, highlighting the pivotal role that Toilet Business Owners play in combating open defecation in Nigeria.
The revelations made at the Toilet Business Owners Conference serve as a wake-up call, urging stakeholders to take immediate action to address the dire sanitation situation in Nigeria.
With millions of Nigerians forced to defecate in the open and an urgent need for improved sanitation practices, concerted efforts are required to provide adequate toilet facilities and promote proper hygiene practices to safeguard public health and dignity.