Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
The federal government has declared Agatu Local Government Area of Benue State Open Defecation Free (ODF).
By this declaration, Agatu local government becomes the 4th out of 23 LGAs in the state and 11th out of 774 LGAs across the nation to attain the ODF status.
An ODF certificate was presented to Agatu LG on Tuesday in Makurdi the state capital, during the end of programme review and close out meeting of Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion In Nigeria, (RUSHPIN) in Benue state with highlight on achievements, challenges and prospects.
The meeting which was the last of RUSHPIN programme in the state was supported by the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, (WSSCC) which will be transiting to Sanitation and Hygiene Fund, (SHF) to take off in 2021.
Agatu was validated ODF in January 2020 by the National Task Group on Sanitation, (NTGS), leading to the celebration of the status today.
Speaking at the event, Programme Manager United Purpose, Mr Nanpet Chuktu, lauded the activities of RUSHPIN in Benue state throughout the period of its operation.
He commended the authorities in the state for their proactiveness and support to the overall RUSHPIN programme saying with what he had seen, there was the potential to adhere to the new pathways for Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) implementation.
On her part, General Manager of Benue Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency, (BERWASSA), Mrs Torkwase Ikyaator enjoined people of Agatu local government to sustain efforts to maintain the ODF status.
She also called on the council Chairman, Mr. Suleiman Adoyi to go back and ensure that public places such as markets, worship centres among others are provided with improved toilet facilities.
Responding, the Agatu council boss thanked RUSHPIN and all its partners for assisting in raising the health status of the Benue people especially that of Agatu even as he to do his best to improve and sustain the ODF status of the council.
The event also witnessed thw presentation of certificates of commitment and meritorious service by United Purpose (UP) to the six ODF local government areas and the three scale-up LGAs in the area of Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in the state.