The United Nations Children’s Education Fund on Tuesday said no fewer than 1.4 million residents of Ekiti State still engage in open defecation.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the global body said this was why Ekiti was ranked second in open defecation practice in the country.
The UNICEF Chief Field Officer, Akure and Ondo States, who is also coordinating activities in Ekiti, Dr Tushar Rane, said this in Ado Ekiti.
He spoke during the opening of the Open Defecation Free celebration for 54 rural communities in Ekiti West and Gbonyin Local Governments that had been declared free by the international body.
Rane said there was need for more concerted efforts to stamp out the scourge across the 36 states of the federation now that Nigeria had been ranked second in open defecation globally.
“Nigeria was ranked second to India in open defecation globally and this is unwholesome and deleterious to the well being of the citizens.
“The recent mapping survey conducted by Water Sanitation and Hygiene revealed that 1.4 million do practice open defecation in Ekiti, second in ranking in Nigeria and South West.
“We salute the resolve of Ekiti government to make water available to every household in Ekiti.
“This is commendable because the practice of open defecation constitutes great hazards to people’s health .
“The celebration here today shows that we can do it. We can make the entire state and Nigeria open defecation free, if the right steps are taken.
“In all these rural components , UNICEF helped those who have the means and those who didn’t have the means to build toilets in their homes to achieve this feat that will be of benefit to our health,” he said.
The state Commissioner for Public Utilities, Bamidele Faparusi, said Governor Kayode Fayemi had given an executive order that no one should practice open defecation again in the state.
“Every household must have a toilet. If people build their houses and consider it worthy to build a kitchen, I believe that they must consider it expedient to build a toilet.
“Go out and spread the news that it has become a grievous offence in Ekiti to defecate openly.
“Open defecation poses a lot of health hazards . This celebration will stimulate other communities to comply and key into one -house -one- toilet campaign. 54 communities have been declared open defecation free by UNICEF.
“By 2020, all the small towns in the two councils will assume the same status,” the commissioner said