The Federal Capital Territory Water Board on Friday condemned open defecation by residents of the territory just as it has announced plans to build additional toilets in schools and hospitals.
The Head, Rural Water Supply and Sanitation of the board, Dr Mohammed Dan-Hassan, said this at the inauguration of the Nigerian Institution of Water Engineers, in Abuja.
He noted that the provision of toilet facilities was necessary as around 87,000 children below the age of five die from diarrhoea-related complications in Nigeria annually while about 50 per cent of schools and 25 per cent of primary healthcare centres in the country are in dire need of toilet facilities in order to deal with the problem of open defecation.
Dan-Hassan stated, “Water and sanitation facilities in schools contribute to 15 per cent increase in school attendance for girls. Although significant progress was made in recent years, Nigeria may not reach 100 per cent open defecation-free status by 2025 without a change in strategy”.
“A list of activities has to be made available. There are assumptions for investment; 50 per cent of schools and 25 per cent of primary healthcare centres will need toilet facilities.
“The role of the engineers is to come up with innovative designs for toilets to suit different terrains. They must also ensure low-cost designs and toilet facilities with less water consumption.”
The NIWE National Chairman, Abolade Lawal, noted that the body of engineers would facilitate the development and acquisition of technology to tackle open defecation in the country.
He said, “I challenge all Nigerian engineers, particularly the water engineers, as a matter of urgency to rise and take their place in the economic and technological development of our country.
“Of particular importance is the alarming rate of open defecation, which has turned itself into a monster bedevilling our country. We shall contribute our utmost quota to solving this problem. No country, whether developed or developing, can attain technological breakthroughs without the efforts of its engineers.”