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669 LGAs in Nigeria have not yet joined the UNICEF-run League of Open Defecation-Free Communities

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The United Nations Children’s Fund, or UNICEF, has bemoaned the fact that 669 local government areas in Nigeria do not yet have open defecation policies in place.

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UNICEF reports that if the government and pertinent Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and sanitation partners do not mobilize to ensure that all 774 LGAs in the country are free of open defecation by 2030, it may be impossible to meet Sustainable Development Goal 6.

The UNICEF Bauchi Field Office’s Officer in Charge, Dr. Clement Adams, brought up the issues at a media discussion in Azare, Bauchi State, on Wednesday in honor of World Toilet Day.

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He commended the residents of Bauchi State’s Katagum local government area for becoming the 105th in the nation to be declared free of open defecation.

He noted that the majority of diseases that affect people are caused by inadequate sanitation, stating that the number is not encouraging and that there are not enough toilets, threatening both the environment and people.

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“We believe other states can copy from Jigawa so the country achieves the Sustainable Development Goal Number 6 by 2030,” he said, referring to the only state in the nation with all of its local government areas declared free of open defecation.

The UNICEF OIC emphasized that additional collaborations with pertinent parties are required and that governments need to make sure that everyone is working together to close the gap caused by the shortage.

Nuhu Zaki, the Bauchi State Commissioner for Water Resources, had previously reaffirmed the state government’s goal of having all 20 LGAs free of open defecation by 2025.

He said it was significant to highlight that eight local government areas—Dass, Warji, Shira, Gamawa, Bogoro, Ganjuwa, Toro, and Katagum—were successfully delivered as LGA ODF-wide by the state government.

He said that two more local government areas, Bauchi and Zaki, were at varying stages of being open defecation free (ODF), while 5,934 additional localities were ODF.

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