Ojoto (Idemili South-Traditional rulers and town union leaders in Idemili South, Anambra State have been urged to ensure that local government areas attain LGA � wide open defecation free (ODF) status.

The call was made during the local government Water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) clinic which was held at the chairman’s office, Idemili South LGA, Ojoto.

The WASH coordinator Idemili South LGA, Mr Simon Ndibe lamented that Nigeria ranked No. 2 in global rating on open defecation, saying that about 25 per cent of Nigerian population still defecate in the open.

He observed that President Muhammadu Buhari recently declared state of emergency on WASH sector, directing all levels of government to redouble efforts toward meeting the nation’s water supply and sanitation needs.

Ndibe told traditional rulers and Presidents-General of communities to take the lead toward achieving total sanitation, hygiene and elimination of open defecation practices for improved health of their people.

Start community-led total sanitation (CLTS). Sensitise the community members to realise the extent of the problems associated with open defecation and take necessary actions toward solving them for improved well being of the people.

Feces and housefly go together. If a woman prepares the best food and a housefly coming from feces perches on it, she is serving her husband poison, said Ndibe.

He said that after a recent verification/certification exercise � they noticed absence of latrines, hand washing facilities close to latrines, poor management of toilets and cleaning materials, like toilets, tissue papers, saying that some households still defecate in bushes.

He, then, praised the council boss, Mr Don Unachukwu who initiated the assembling of community leaders, saying that the LG boss also promised to assemble market leaders, clergymen, security etc.

The wash coordinator said although some community had been certified ODF but there was need to achieve LGA-wide ODF wishing Idemili south to be the first to achieve it in Anambra State.

Please henceforth, all households must own and use a toilet. The toilet and tissue papers and waste bins should be covered to avoid housefly. Running water with soap/ash should be near the toilet or they face sanctions.

Mr Unachukwu commended the lecturer and charged the community leaders to communicate their messages to villagers.

He told the WASH coordinator to produce more copies of the lecture for wide distribution.

Easter is by the corner, I know many villages will be hosting meetings, celebrations or gatherings. Use every opportunity to sensitise the people on damages and stoppage of open defecation in Idemili South Local Government Area

Reacting to the message, Igwe Emmanuel Ajamma of Nnokwa represented by Mr Sunny Obiegbu said they would start implementation of the message forthwith.

He pleaded with government to build more conveniences/toilets on major roads and markets.

The PG Nnokwa, Sir Joe Uchendu, represented by Mr Chinedu Obiagwu thanked Government, EU, UNICEF, WASH for their efforts in promoting health of the people, saying that would ensure IDSLGA becomes ODF.

Source: Anambra State Government