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Nigeria Requires 3.9 Million Toilets Annually to End Open Defecation — UNICEF

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said that Nigeria must build at least 39 million toilets annually to end open defecation practices in Nigeria by 2025.

Chief of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) at UNICEF, Jane Bevan, while speaking at the opening of a two-day Maiden Toilet Business Owners Conference on Monday, July 3 in Abuja said the nation’s current construction rate is 180,000 – 200,000 toilets annually, which she said is not enough to address the challenge.

Describing the yearly construction rate as inadequate, she noted that business owners were vital to ending open defecation challenges in Nigeria.

Open defecation which is the act of passing excreta in open-air locations is a major environmental issue in Nigeria. It is also a serious health concern that has led to the spread of diseases, particularly diarrhea.

According to a UNICEF report, over 100,000 children under five die yearly from diarrhea. The report noted that 90 percent of these death cases are directly attributable to unsafe water and sanitation.

While speaking on the issue, Bevan called for the construction of more toilets.
Bevan also said 48 million people practice open defecation in Nigeria, while 95 million lack access to basic sanitation services.

She said the private sector could play a massive role in sustainability and strengthening sanitation markets in the country.

“About 1.3 percent of GDP or N455 billion is lost annually due to poor access to sanitation – health, health care savings, and productivity.

“Every dollar invested in water and sanitation results in economic benefits ranging from 3 dollars to 34 dollars.
“Nigeria cannot continue business as usual or will miss the target of 2025 and 2030. There is a need to strengthen and scale up proven strategies to reach the country’s goals.

“The private sector must work closely with all tiers of government and communities to actively create sustainable solutions to address the sanitation needs of unserved and underserved communities and help grow capital investment and human capital,” she said.

By Dare Akogun

Dare Akogun

Dare Akogun is a dynamic media innovator, strategic communication professional, and seasoned climate and environmental sustainability journalist with over 10 years of influential contributions to the media industry.

He Currently serving as the Head of Digital Media, Senior News Editor, and a presenter at Sobi FM 101.9, a leading radio station in Ilorin, Nigeria.

Dare is on a mission to leverage his media innovation expertise and project management skills to produce high-quality, accurate, and engaging content, while advocating for reduced fossil fuel consumption, especially coal, to combat effect of global warming.

He has covered comprehensively environmental issues and COP conferences, including COP28 in Dubai last year , COP 27 in Egypt, and the United Nations Least Developed Countries conference in Doha, in 2023.

He is a recipient of fellowship to be part of a 15 team of journalists selected worldwide to cover the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue 2024.

He has a Master's Degree in Mass Communication, from the University of Lagos, a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the Lagos State University and also a
Certification in Business Administration and Management, from the Babson College, Massachusetts, United States of America.

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