Gyang Bere, Jos and Clement Adeyi, Osogbo
The European Union (EU) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNCEF) are working in collaboration with the Federal Government to end insecurity, corruption and open defecation in rural communities in Nigeria.
Head of Delegation of the European Union to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ambassador Ketil Karlsen, disclosed this, yesterday, during commissioning of solar-powered borehole project and school sanitation facility, in partnership with UNICEF, at Lo-Gwom Kwi Community in Riyom Local Government Area of Plateau State.
“We know that there are challenges in the country; we know that there are issues around conflict, economy, and issues of improving transparency and reducing corruption. These are the priority of the federal government and that is exactly where we are helping out Nigeria.
“We need to secure clean water, we need to secure better health and of course we need to stop open defecation. Now that Plateau State Government has passed the water law, we will commence action and that is the commitment of the EY.”
He noted that EU is willing to partner with UNICEF, to dig boreholes across rural communities in Nigeria, and Africa, for the sake of providing drinking water; to curtail outbreak of diseases but doesn’t have the capacity.
UNICEF representative in Nigeria, Mr. Peter Hawkins, urged school children and community to used the latrine and water provided to wash their hands, regularly, and to keep their body clean; to avoid outbreak of diseases in the community.
“Look after this water project, not only for yourself but for your children and your future generations. Look after it and sustain it; for no one will come back to help you to do that, you have to help yourselves.”
Chairman of Riyom Local Government Area, Hon. Emmanuel Jugul vowed to set up a task force that will ensure every household have a latrine toilet, to end open defecation.
Meanwhile, UNICEF WASH expert, Mr. Bioye Ogunjobi, said 47 million Nigerians, which represents 24. 4 percent of the population, still practise open defecation.
He disclosed this at a South West media dialogue on sanitation held in Ibadan, Oyo State, yesterday, where he also disclosed that 11 percent of Nigerian children suffered from diarrhoea and cholera; in the last six months, due to open defecation.