Anambra residents have called on the state government to construct toilets in public places and streets in major towns and cities across the states of the federation to effectively check open defecation.
A cross-section of the people said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka on Monday that open defecation could be checked when people could have easy access to toilet.
A student, Mr Daluchukwu Chiadikaobi, said that government should initiate measures, including the provision of toilet facilities in public offices, institutions and major roads, to curb the menace.
“Defecation is a natural act for all humans, therefore, government owes it a duty to its citizenry to provide conveniences at strategic locations. “The world has become a global village and people wish to live a decent life but when nature calls, any opportunity can be exploited by the people. “So we need public toilets in public domain,” Chiadikaobi said.
A businessman, Mr Tochi Omalu, described open defecation as an old practice that continued to constitute public nuisance. Omalu said that government at all levels should erect public toilets in strategic places, if government was serious about eradicating open defecation in the country. He said that government was only paying lip service to ending the phenomenon.
According to him, “If government matched its word with action, open defecation would be a thing of the past and those, who pride in the act, would be ashamed to continue.” A teacher, Mrs Chioma Beluchukwu, regretted that open defecation was becoming a normal habit among the people.
“The fear of contracting infections has made people to have open defecation as an alternative, mostly when they are out of their homes,” she said A retired nurse, Mrs Agnes Odogwu, said that the danger of open defecation was enormous. She urged government to consider the provision of public toilets as a means of creating a healthy environment.
Odogwu charged residents to imbibe healthy habit and endeavour to suppress the urge to defecate openly outside or search for public toilets when pressed. Mrs Ngozi Omenife said that some homes in the villages lacked toilets, adding that the problem was compounded by poor access to water. Omenife said that open defecation was capable of breeding diseases and called on government to step up action to avoid epidemic that could arise from poor hygiene.
NAN reports that United Nations Children’s Fund, through its Water Sanitation and Hygiene, Specialist, Mr Biodun Ogunjobi, said in May that 48 million Nigerians indulged in open defecation.
Also, the Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu, during his 2020 budget defence, affirmed that Nigeria was leading other African nations in terms of poor hygiene with about 47 million people lacking direct access to toilets. Nigeria was said to be the second largest nation in the world that practiced it with only 14 of 774 local government areas exempted. There was an Executive Order by the Federal Government stopping open defecation in the country.
A resident of Awka, Mr Ifeatu Onyeji, described the order as commendable and called for the reintroduction of sanitary inspectors in the health system. NAN reports that most respondents urged the government to prioritise the provision of public conveniences to ensure the success of the executive order to achieve a healthy environment.