UNICEF reported that 48 million Nigerians, constituting 23% of the nation’s population, still practice open defecation.
Regionally, the North-West has 11%, North-East 17%, North-Central 47%, South-West 24%, South-South 23%, and South-East 23% engaging in this practice.
Mamita Bora Thakkar, the North-East Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Manager for the global agency, shared these findings in Maiduguri during a press briefing ahead of this year’s World Toilet Day, scheduled for November 19.
“With just seven years left until 2030, Nigeria is alarmingly off track with regard to achieving the SDGs on universal access to sanitation,” she warned.
“Only 104 out of the 774 LGAs in the country are open defecation-free,” Thakkar warned, stressing, “We need to accelerate our efforts at achieving access to universal sanitation.”
The UNICEF official took a view of the global scene, disclosing, “Globally, there are 3.5 billion people living without safe toilets and 2.2 billion persons living without safe drinking water. 419 million people still go to the toilet in the open (‘open defecation’).”
“Progress towards universal sanitation is alarmingly off track, unevenly distributed between countries, and inadequate to eliminate the inequalities to ensure that the most vulnerable are reached.”
She said, “With just seven years left, the world has to work, on average, five times faster to meet the sanitation target of SDG 6— safe toilets and water for all by 2030 — on time.”
She described sanitation and drinking water as human rights, saying, “Access to these services is critical to people’s health and the integrity of the environment.”
She mentioned that November 19 marks the annual observance of World Toilet Day, emphasizing the critical significance of safe and hygienic toilet facilities.
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