Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
Ondo State government has banned open defecation in the state, warning that anyone caught in the act will be prosecuted.
The state governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, while inaugurating the state steering committee on Open Defecation Free (ODF) in Akure, said it had now become an offence for any individual to defecate in an open place.
Akeredolu also decried the situation whereby Nigeria was ranked second in open defecation in the world.
He said out of the 47 million Nigerians engaged in open defecation, nine million come from the South-West and of this number, about 1.4 million live in Ondo State.The governor, therefore, described the situation as unacceptable to his government and consequently banned the practice.
He said: “In line with the blueprint of our administration, we will ensure that the issue of open defecation is tackled decisively. “The practice portends a grave consequence in the areas of health, child development, education outcome, dignity and security, amongothers. “The development has put our state in bad light when compared with other states with low incidence of open defecation practice. For the anti-open defecation position of the state government to be fully effective, Akeredolu also ordered all the filling stations along the highways in the state to put in place functional and accessible public toilets within their facilities for public use.
The governor equally asked all public facilities, private and public schools to endeavour to provide functional toilets within six months from July 1, 2019. He specifically told all private and public schools to have functional toilets with dedicated space for menstrual hygiene management for female students. Akeredolu assured that relevant law would be enacted to deal with infractions.