Jaba Local Government Area of Kaduna State has been certified Open Defecation Free by the National Task Group on Sanitation.
The council became the first to attain the status among the 23 local government areas of the state.
The Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, presented the ODF certificate to the Deputy Governor, Kaduna State, Dr Hadiza Balarabe, in Kwoi, on Tuesday.
Adamu, who was represented by the Deputy Director, Water Quality Surveillance in the ministry, Hajiya Rukaiya Bako, congratulated the LGA and Kaduna State for the feat.
He said that the development was an indication of the progress in meeting the target of making Nigeria open defecation free by 2025.
“The benefits of access to improved Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities, especially of living in an open defecation free environment, impacts on education, health, security and socio-economic wellbeing of the people.
“In this regard, I wish to commend the people of Jaba LGA for their commitment in making their environment clean and devoid of open defecation through behaviour change,” he said.
He said that so far, the country had recorded 33 ODF LGAs as of October 2020, adding that additional LGAs were undergoing the process of validation to be declared as ODF.
He commended UNICEF and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), United Kingdom for supporting the implementation of the Sanitation Hygiene and Water in Nigeria (SHAWN) Project under which the feat was recorded.
The deputy governor commended Jaba LGA for its exemplary role in leading other LGAs, adding that so far, over 3000 communities have been certified ODF in the state.
She said that the government would make concerted efforts to ensure that Kaduna State was certified ODF before 2025, stressing that other LGAs in the state would soon join Jaba.
On his part, Munir Ahmed, Director-General, Kaduna State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA), appealed to the people of the area to sustain the feat.
Ahmed reiterated the state government to continue supporting in the provision of basic WASH facilities in communities.
Chairman of the council, Benjamin Jock, said that open defecation received the widest condemnation and discouragement during constant sensitisation and mobilisation activities across the LGA.
Jock called on the people of the area to save guard facilities provided by the government to collectively sustain the ODF status.
The traditional leader of the Jaba people, Kpop Ham, Danladi Maude, also thanked UNICEF and other stakeholders for changing the behaviour of his people against open defecation.
Maude disclosed that some communities in the LGA never had access to clean water and were completely oblivious of good hygiene until the implementation of the SHAWN project in the LGA.
The LGA with a projected population of 235,022, women and children under five years constitute 53 per cent and 22 per cent respectively and living in about 2,005 households in 560 communities.
The main source of potable water in the area is the 123 million little per day Kwoi Water Treatment Plant, with about 20 hand pump boreholes and 64 motorised boreholes.
The LGA has 119 public primary and secondary schools, 26 private schools and 54 primary healthcare centres, all with access to basic sanitation and water supply within an average distance of 250 metres.