The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has ranked Nigeria second among countries practicing open defecation globally.
UNICEF Communication Specialist, Dr Geoffrey Njoku, made this known at a Two-Day Media Dialogue in Calabar , Wednesday.
The theme of the dialogue “Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet” was aimed at creating awareness to end the habit by 2025.
Njoku said findings from the 2018 Water sanitation and Hygien National Outcome Routine Mapping survey revealed that 24 per cent of the population, about 47 million people, practice open defecation.
“This campaign is trying to see what we can do not to be in the number one category of open category.
“There is need to create awareness about Clean Nigeria, Use the Toilet campaign and mobilise resources to sustain the national movement,” he said.
Njoku, however, called for behavioural change and policy reform through community dialogue, advocacy and engagement with policy makers.
He averred that it was also important to drive cross sector collaborations especially with the private sector to improve investment in sanitation sector.
Meanwhile, the Chief of Field Office, UNICEF, Enugu, Mr Ibrahim Conteh disclosed that by 2030, Nigeria should be able to achieve adequate sanitation hygiene while also paying adequate attention to the needs of women and girls.
Conteh noted that stakeholders must join forces towards improving adequate sanitation facilities in the country.
His words “The Federal Government has declared an emergency on the sector in 2018 and has taken steps to achieve this.
” This partnership will yield tremendous result in achieving this goal.”
The Nigeria government in 2018 launched a national campaign to jump-start the country toward becoming Open Defecation Free.
Nigeria is however second to India in open defecation, a situation that needed urgent attention to reverse.