By Stanley Onyekwere
The FCT Minister of State, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, has described as unacceptable the high rate of open defecation among Abuja residents.
In particular, the Minister said it is worrisome the last assessment carried out by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in collaboration with UNICEF, stating that 50 percent of Abuja residents defecate in the open.
She assured that the FCT Administration will work closely with the six Area Councils and other Agencies of Government to scale-up commitment in addressing challenges of water supply, sanitation and hygiene in rural communities.
Aliyu who made this assertion during inspection tour of facilities in Gwagwalada Area Council of the territory, also commended the FCT Universal Basic Education Board (UBEB) for the construction of 2 Nos block of VIP toilet at Tunga Maje secondary school.
Assuring that the FCT Administration is determine to change the narratives, she stressed that if the respective authorities fail to resolve this ambiguous menace, the target to end open defeacation in the nation’s capital on or before 2025 may be unrealistic.
“It is important to emphasise that the provision of potable water supply, adequate sanitation and hygiene are primarily the responsibilities of States and Local Governments or Area Councils as in the case of FCT.
“Let me state unequivocally that if the respective authorities (States and Local Governments) fail to resolve this ambiguous menace, the target to end open defeacation in the nation’s capital may be unrealistic.
“It saddens my heart to note that currently 102, 000 children die annually due to diseases related to sanitation. We must join hands to address this menace.
“It is unacceptable and we are determine to change the narratives, henceforth, the FCT Administration will work closely with the six Area Councils and other Agencies of Government to scale-up commitment to implement the National WASH Action Plan to end open defecation,” he stressed.