Traditional ruler pledges support for defecation-free Nigeria

Alhaji Ibrahim Yusuf, District Head, Nai’bawa Ward, Kumbotso Local Government Area in Kano, has pledged to support all programmes towards achieving an open defecation-free country by 2025.

Yusuf made this pledge when he received members of the National Task Group on Sanitation (NTGS), on a validation visit to some communities in the state on Monday.

It may be recalled that Nigeria through its Clean Nigeria, Use the Toilet Campaign Secretariat, inaugurated a National Open Defecation-free roadmap by 2025.

He said this would be done through sustenance of hygiene behaviour, by encouraging his subjects to build and use their toilets and encouraging hand washing culture at critical times.

“There is no single house in my ward that does not have toilet and hand washing stations, even those with pit latrines have drop-hole covers.

“We commend the sponsors of this programme’’.

According to him, since the inception of the UNICEF-supported Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programme, many communities under his ward have imbibed hygiene practices.

This, he said, had been reflected with low records of preventable diseases and deaths, especially among under-five children.

He said such benefits had also seen many young persons becoming hygiene ambassadors for passing the message of sanitation and health promotion at all times.

He however said anyone found defecating publicly or dumping waste indiscriminately was being fined N1,000, saying that this measure had been effective.

Mr Hayatuddin Safiyo, Chairman, Maikalwa Youth Foundation, said the intervention had seen community ownership of the programme with introduction of innovations in drop-hole covers for toilets.

Safiyo said since introduction of the WASH programme, more knowledge of hygiene behaviour have been acquired, especially in preventing water contamination through feaces.

“Since introduction of the WASH programme, we now have more knowledge on hygiene, we have held several sensitisation meetings to enlighten the community on hygiene, pit latrines, waste disposals.

“Even in the proximity between the wells and soak away, you will see the distance, wherever anyone is trying to build the soak away, we try to see what the proximity between it and the existing well.

“Because if they are very close, there will be contamination between the well and the soak away.

On impact, the chairman said with higher rainfall in 2022, lower cases of diseases and illness were recorded, compared with 2021 which ahd more illnesses.

“Actually there is a huge impact, in the previous year, there was no much rainfall, and the high rate of sickness is pronounced, compared to this year, the rainfall is high, but the rate of sickness is very low.

“Considering the sensitisation, the knowledge of the hygiene programme, this is a very good idea and we will continue to enlighten our people and the entire community on this programme.’’

He added that the traditional rulers had huge roles to play in the sustenance of hygiene behaviours among the populace.

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