The Minister for Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu on Monday revealed that Nigeria is at the brink of becoming the number one country with the highest population of people defecating in the open, with more than 46 million Nigerians in the act.
The Minister made the disclosure in Jalingo, the Taraba State capital at the flagging off of the National youth volunteer programme on Hand washing and clean Nigeria Campaign for covid-19 prevention.
The program which was initiated by the federal government, is aimed at ending open defecation in Nigeria by the year 2025.
Engr. Suleiman Adamu, explained that open defecation has an economic, social and health impact on national development, adding that Nigeria loses about 1.3 percent (N455 billion) of GDP annually due to poor sanitation and a third of that cost was as a result of open defecation.
According to him, more than 100,000 children under five years of age die each year due to diarrhea with 90 percent directly attributed to unsafe water and sanitation.
The Taraba state government and TAWASCO have under this intiative, trained one hundred (100) youths from the 16 local government areas of the state to serve as sanitation and hygiene ambassadors.
They are also to create awareness and sensitization on hand washing at various communities in the state, with a view to prevent covid-19 devastation for a specific period of time.
In his remarks, the Managing Director of TAWASCO, Engr. Musa Buba Siam said people are suffering a lot because of how they manage their environments by dumping wether solid or liquid waste in their homes.
He applauded the Federal Government through the the federal ministry of water resources for the privilege accorded them to flagged off the campaign, describing it as a wakeup call for them to be cautious of their environment.
Siam recalled that on the 20th may, 2018 when Governor Darius Ishaku flagged off a band on the single use of polythene and plastic material in Taraba State which they see it as visionary and timely in an attempt to solve the menace.
“I want to remind us on this, that we need to carry out the campaign at individuals, state, local and ward levels to back up the national campaign, so that at the end of it all, we will have a clean environment and have an environment that we will give to our future generations”. Said Siam.”
On his part, state for Water Resources, Yusufu Nya Akirikwen SAN, said that the Federal Government intiative embraced by the Taraba State Government with passion, adding that the state under the dynamic visionary leadership of His Excellency, Arc. Darius Ishaku has done a lot in WASH sector.
According to him, hundreds of boreholes, hand pumps stretching across communities in the state have been drilled comprising solar powered and motorized boreholes rehabilitated.
“Many villages with long history of scarcity of water have now been completely changed to communities with safe drinking water.
“Our partners UNICEF, USAID etc are also supporting in this great task of serving humanity.
The General Manager of RUWASSA in the state, Mr. Julius Awudu and his team were among those that witnessed the flag off and made th event possible.
“A clean Nigeria is everyone’s business.” Akirikwen concluded.