Nigeria will overtake India to become the world capital for open defecation in October 2019, the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, has said.
The minister made this known while delivering an address at the 3rd Founder’s Day ceremony of Edo University, Iyamho on Saturday.
Adamu, who spoke on the theme: Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Sustained Development, lamented that the country had been unable to meet its Millenium Development Goals on water supply and sanitation.
He identified the causes of this as poor investments, low capacity and other challenges.
Adamu stated that the challenge was not confined to rural areas.
The minister, who was represented by Managing Director of Benin-Owena River Basin Development Authority, Ahmed Saliu, said, “Nigeria will become the No. 1 open defecation practising country when India becomes open defecation free in October.
“Access to sanitation has been on the decline from 30 per cent in 2010 to 28 per cent in 2015. Open defecation has been on the increase and there was not a single LGA in Nigeria that is open defecation free.
“It is estimated that more than 48 million Nigerians practise open defecation and that placed Nigeria as the second in the world (behind India).
“So far there are 10 LGAs in the country that have attained open defecation free status.”
However, the minister said that Nigeria was on course to achieving an open defecation-free society in 2025.
He added that the nation had established a website, cleannigeria.ng, to link the government and the public in monitoring the progress being made in the country towards achieving the feat.
Adamu, who launched the website over the weekend, said, “the ministry has put in place the clean Nigeria program to end open defecation in Nigeria by 2025 with the slogan ‘clean Nigeria; use the toilet.”