Dr Mohammed Dan-Hassan, Executive Director, FCT Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA), says efforts are on to make Kwali Area Council an open defecation-free model for the FCT.
Dan-Hassan told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that this became necessary, to encourage other area councils to step up efforts towards hygiene promotion.
According to him, within two years of the agency’s inception, no fewer than 429 communities have been triggered and encouraged to build and use their toilets.
Dan-Hassan said this had resulted in no less than 100 communities claiming open defecation-free status.
“Last year, with the support of UNICEF and Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Kwali Area Council was chosen as a model for the fight against open defecation.
“We plan to make Kwali open defecation free by December, that was the target, but we have not achieved it, however, we have re-strategised to make it happen,’’ he said.
The executive director said prioritising access to Water, Sanitation, Hygiene (WASH) would enable Nigeria meet the Sustainable Development Goals before 2030.
“Once we take care of that, WASH is like a chain reaction, it is going to have positive impact on all the other goals.
“The same thing in our local communities, even in our households. Once we take care of WASH, a lot of challenges will go away even in your family unit.
“Once you have water, sanitation, hygiene in good standing all those illnesses, diseases and what have you will just vanish. So you can see how critical it is,’’ Dan-Hassan said.
He said the agency had collaborated with relevant agencies toward promoting the wellbeing of the populace, saying, “although progress is slow, it was positive’’.
The FCT Administration through a partnership with the Nigerian Government, with support from UNICEF and Japanese sanitation company, Lixil, was working to meet the open defecation – free (ODF) target by 2025.
“We are working hard, and this partnership with UNICEF is helping to bring us a step closer to achieving our mandate of Nigeria becoming open defecation-free by 2025,” said Chizoma Opara, the National Coordinator of the Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet campaign.
“UNICEF has been a close partner to us over the years. This programme, which is providing rural communities with safe toilet pans, is a step in the right direction.
“The pans have been generously donated by Lixil, the firm that manufactures them. We are now optimistic that our goal of achieving an open defecation-free Nigeria by 2025 is possible,” Opara said.
Dr Nicholas Igwe, National Coordinator, Organised Private Sector on Water Sanitation and Hygiene, said that partnership with relevant stakeholders was key to changing narrative of poor hygiene in the country.
Igwe said that Tolaram Company, as part of its corporate social responsibility, was building toilet facilities in primary health centres in six states.
He said that the intervention had funds already available, awaiting sites for construction to take place.
According to Igwe, IHS Towers is also adopting Kwali Local Government Area of FCT for provision of water and sanitation facilities to communities.