The United Nations Children Fund says it is partnering with the Federal Government in tackling open defecation in the country.
Geoffrey Njoku, UNICEF Communication Specialist, made this known at the ongoing media dialogue on sanitation in Ibadan.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the theme of the workshop is “Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet Campaign”.
Njoku said Nigeria was ranked second among countries that practice open defecation in the world after India.
He added that Nigeria was also ranked first among the countries practising open defecation in Africa.
Njoku, however, said UNICEF would continue to partner with the Federal Government in tackling open defecation in the country.
He said the purpose of the workshop was to engage the media in the campaign against open defecation with the aim of putting an end to the act.
Njoku said the media dialogue was also aimed at creating awareness about clean Nigeria and mobilise resources to sustain the National movement.
He said the workshop would engender behavioural change and policy reform through advocacy and awareness to encourage government to invest more resources in the environment.
In his opening remarks, Olumide Osanyipeju, Head, Child Rights Information Bureau, Federal Ministry of Information, Abuja, said UNICEF had been in the forefront of ensuring that Nigerians have access to safe drinking water supply, adequate and proper hygiene in their communities.
Osanyipeju, who noted that open defecation perpetuates a vicious of disease and poverty, said the Federal Government had declared a state of emergency in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene towards ending open defecation.
He said government with the support of UNICEF in partnership with inter-ministerial agencies, civil society partners and private sector, were currently leading the open defecation campaign to end the scourge in the country by 2025, and achieve universal access to safely manage sanitation by 2030.
Osanyipeju said clean Nigeria; use the toilet campaign, was one of the most ambitious behaviour-change in Nigeria with a strong-citizen and public engagement component.
He urged the media to assist government in sensitising Nigerians on the danger of open defecation.