Five new local government areas have been added to the list of Open Defecation-free (ODF) LGAs in the country.
This brings to 83, the number of LGAs in the country now free from having its populace defecating in the open.
They are; Garki, Kaugama, Miga and Yankwashi in Jigawa, and Aguata LGA in Anambra State.
At the monthly meeting of the National Task Group on Sanitation in Abuja, the members unanimously agreed to declare the five LGAs Open defecation-free, after meeting the criteria in the ODF Protocol.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports 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.
Chairman of the NTGS, Mr Emmanuel Awe, said the validation exercise was part of the processes to monitor and encourage communities on behavioural change in hygiene promotion.
According to him, states must show more commitment in ensuring that more LGAs are open defecation-free and in a sustainable manner.
Giving an overview of processes for the Jigawa LGAs, to be declared open defecation-free, Mr Peters Ojonuba, the Validation Team Lead, said it was impressive to see the commitment of the state in improving access to sanitation.
Ojonuba said no faeces were sighted in the 414 communities, being 20 per cent of the 2,070 communities in the four LGAs.
He said most communities depended on open wells as water source, and drop hole covers were used for latrines, adding that this was supported by the state government through subsidy.
“Although, few households did not have drop hole clovers, we applied simple immediate doable actions by showing them how to construct it and use immediately.
“We also observed the correct use of tippy taps and plastic kettles for hand washing, the challenge however, was the issue of “Ba-Shiga’ (no entry), for some male validators,’’ he said.
He also commended the commitment of the political class and traditional rulers who sanctioned defaulters of the rule of public defecation.
Mr Chibuike Nwanyanwu, who spoke on Aguata LGA’s efforts towards becoming open defecation-free, said behavioural change evidences were seen in communities building and using their toilets.
Nwanyanwu said communities in the LGA had moved up the sanitation ladder through the use of improved toilets, and called for sustainability of the efforts through constant monitoring.