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FG declares Benue LGA open defecation free



Federal Ministry of Water Resources has declared Buruku Local Government Area (LGA) in Benue open defecation free (ODF), having met the requirements slated in the ODF protocol for hygiene promotion.

It was reported that the LGA had earlier failed the first validation requirements and thereafter represented itself, making it the 62nd out of the 774 council areas in the country.

At the monthly meeting of the National Task Group on Sanitation, held virtually by the ministry in Abuja on Wednesday, the Chairman, Mr Emmanuel Awe, noted that the feat was laudable.

It was reported that before attaining the ODF status, communities would have eliminated open defecation and imbibed total sanitation practices, which include personal, environmental and domestic hygiene.

The communities would have also had 100 per cent toilet use and increased ownership and sustainability of hygiene and sanitation services.

While commending the efforts of Benue State Government and other stakeholders in the water and sanitation sector, Awe called for sustainable practices for total sanitation.

The chairman specifically thanked the State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency for spearheading interventions for communities to build and use their toilets and end open defecation practice.

Mrs Chizoma Opara, National Coordinator, Clean Nigeria Campaign, noted the need for states to be deliberate at making sure that ODF LGAs did not fall back to open defecation.

Opara said the CNC secretariat was also partnering with Environmental Health Officers Registration Council of Nigeria (EHORECON) to step up Sanitation and hygiene in the country.

The coordinator noted that the terms of agreement with EHORECON was already in place, saying it was in line with strengthening enforcement towards ending open defecation in all parts of the country.

She added that Environmental Health Officers nationwide possessed the skills, competences and were also strategically located in parts of the country in achieving the target of declaring Nigeria open defecation free before 2025.

Opara said the CNC Secretariat was leveraging on nationwide structure of National Orientation Agency through its Community Orientation and Mobilisation Officers (COMOS), who would be engaged in dissemination of key messages of the Clean Nigeria Campaign.

Tosin Kolade

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