Nigeria incurs significant socio-economic losses to open defecation – UNICEF


The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has stated that the significant prevalence of open defecation results in substantial socio-economic losses for the country.

According to the UN agency, about 48 million people still defecate in the open – mostly in the rural areas.

Clement Adams, Officer-in-Charge/Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Nigeria Bauchi Field Office, disclosed this at the Media Dialogue on World Toilet Day, WTD, 2023 held in Bauchi on Wednesday.

The WTD is themed ‘Accelerating Change’ to highlight the journey towards achieving SDG 6- Clean Water and Sanitation.

He said,” Economically incentivizing sanitation through the approach of toilet business owners, creates jobs and improves income generation while leading us to our goal to become open defecation free.


“We are about seven years away from 2030 – the country’s global target for the SDGs. We must therefore reinvigorate our efforts if we must meet the sanitation target of SDG 6 – safe toilets and water for all by 2030.

“The access to safe and clean toilets prevents the spread of diseases; the access to safe toilets means children, especially girls, and women are protected from the risks of attacks and abuse if they had to go into bushes to defecate; access to basic WASH services is integral to school enrolment, attendance, retention, and completion – the benefits are numerous.

“In Nigeria, about 48 million people still defecate in the open – mostly in the rural areas. This bears severe socio-economic losses for the country.

“The achievement in Katagum LGA needs to be replicated across the country. Out of 774 LGAs in the country, only 105 have been validated ODF.

“The availability of improved toilets in schools, public spaces, homes, and health facilities is critical to discouraging open defecation.”

Earlier in his remarks, the Commissioner for Water Resources, Nuhu Zaki, said that Katagum which was recently certified Open Defecation Free, ODF, is a testimony to the efforts of the state government.

Zaki, who was represented by the General Manager of Rural Water Supply and Sanitation, Adamu Sambo, said that 113,000 improved toilets have been constructed across the state.

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