Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Benue State government says it has committed over N100million towards achieving Open Defecation Free (ODF) society in the state.
Governor Samuel Ortom who disclosed this on Thursday at the launch of State Open Defecation Free (ODF) Road Map and Exit Meeting of UNICEF SHAWN 11 Project expressed the hope to increase the state government’s commitment to N400 million.
The event coincided with the celebration of the World Toilet Day and the Exit Meeting of the SHAWN project of UNICEF, supported by DFID/now FCDO.
Ortom who was represented at the event by the Commissioner for Water Resources and Environment, Mr. Dondo Ahire, explained that the strategy is to provide a guide and steps in ensuring the end of open Defecation in the state by 2030
While noting that Benue is ahead of other States in terms of ODF, the Governor however enthused that much still needs to be done in ensuring Open Defecation Free in all communities of the 23 local government of the State.
“As we officially launch this document, we charge managements within MDAs, affiliated agencies and institutions to establish Clean Benue Task Teams.
“This is with the view to tracking the delivery of ODF status on or before 2025 in all establishments in this State: schools, hospitals, offices, prisons, motor parks, markets and all public places.”
He commended donor partners and stakeholders especially UNICEF and United Purpose for collaborating with the state to achieve the final goal of Open Defecation Free by 2030.
On her part, UNICEF/WASH representative, Mamita Thakkar said the Benue Stare Open Defecation Free Road Map is linked to a larger national vision for creating an Open Defecation Free country by 2025.
She stressed the need for multi pronged and multi level approach, good governance, smart public finance, institutional capacities, reliable data for better decision making and stronger accountability as well as innovation to unlock better approaches and meet emerging challenges like urbanization and climate change.
Thakkar explained further that the Benue ODF Road Map is a key guiding document that outlines the goals, objectives, timelines and strategies to make Benue ODF by 2025.
“Moving forward, this strategic document will be positioned in the public domain to be used in spirit and action, and UNICEF hopes that this will strengthen coordinated actions towards ODF Benue.”