The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), has announced its partnership with the Federal Government to put an end to open defecation in the country.
UNICEF Communication Specialist, Geoffrey Njoku, made this known at the ongoing media dialogue on sanitation in Ibadan on Tuesday.
In the workshop with the theme “Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet Campaign.” Mr Njoku said Nigeria was ranked second among countries that practice open defecation in the world after India.
He added that Nigeria is also ranked as numer one country that practice open defecation in Africa.
Njoku, however, maintained that UNICEF would continue to partner with the Federal Government in tackling open defecation in the country.
He said the purpose of the workshop was to engage the media in the campaign against open defecation with the aim of putting an end to the act.
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He said the workshop would engender behavioural change and policy reform through advocacy and awareness to encourage government to invest more resources in the environment.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Olumide Osanyipeju, Head, Child Rights Information Bureau, Federal Ministry of Information, Abuja, said UNICEF had been in the forefront of ensuring that Nigerians have access to safe drinking water, adequate and proper hygiene in their communities.
Osanyipeju, who noted that open defecation perpetuates a vicious circle of disease and poverty, said the Federal Government had declared a state of emergency in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene towards ending open defecation.
He said government, with the support of UNICEF in partnership with inter-ministerial agencies, civil society partners and the private sector were currently leading the open defecation campaign to end the scourge in the country by 2025, and achieve universal access to safely manage sanitation by 2030.