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Special Report: Plateau State Struggles To Be ODF Compliant In 2025

By George George Idowu

As Nigeria’s 2025 target for achieving Open Defecation Free (ODF) status draws nearer, Plateau State finds itself lagging behind, with no local government area (LGA) yet to be declared ODF, NatureNews findings revealed.

This is despite the nationwide efforts initiated by former President Muhammadu Buhari in 2018 and the launch of the Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet Campaign in 2019, Plateau State remains a significant challenge in the North Central region’s quest for
With its picturesque landscapes and a population of approximately 4.7 million, Plateau State, often hailed as “The Home of Peace and Tourism,” live with sanitation crisis.

Late last year, a report from the federal ministry of water resources and sanitation revealed that only one state has achieved ODF status, leaving the North Central region, which includes Plateau, struggling in the fight against open defecation.

In January 2024 NatureNews reported that out of 117 LGAs declared ODF, none hail from Plateau State.

Shockingly, the state ranks as the second highest in open defecation, alongside Kogi State, with a staggering 56% rate according to the WASHNORM report of 2023.

The challenge is exacerbated by the insufficient construction of toilets, with only 180,000 to 200,000 toilets built annually nationwide, far below the required 3.9 million to meet the ODF target.

Plateau State particularly suffers from a lack of public toilets, with the last government-led initiative dating back to 2020 when 80 toilets were installed in public schools.

Local residents echo these concerns, with Lorrita Yusuf of Banji community, Kwata-Zawan, Jos South LGA, highlighting the absence of public toilets in her vicinity. She emphasizes the urgent need for action, not just in her neighbourhood but across the state.

In 2020 Mr. Jephtha Daleng, the programme officer of Society for Water and Sanitation (NEWSAN), underscores the dire situation, citing the absence of public toilets in key institutions like the state secretariat and Plateau Specialist Hospital.

He urges the state government to prioritize toilet construction in public places to prevent the spread of disease.

That time he said: “The absence of toilets in public places in Plateau is a very big challenge to the fight against open defection.

“In the state secretariat for instance, there is no toilet constructed outside the building for public use, except those attached to various offices.

“It is the same situation in Plateau Specialist Hospital; patients and their relatives defecate in the open. This facility is also not available in schools, markets, motor parks and other public places in the state.

“So, I call on the State Government to construct toilets in public places, if not, the campaign to end open defection by 2030 would be a mirage,’’ he said.

The current Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Prof. Joseph Utsev, in a meeting with representatives of UNESCO recently at the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, he reemphasized the Feferal Government position and commitment on the ODF target in 2025.

Despite these challenges, citizens of Plateau State have been urged to adopt better sanitation practices at home to mitigate community health risks.

However, it’s evident that concerted efforts from both the government and people of Plateau State are crucial to bridge the gap and make meaningful progress towards achieving an Open Defecation Free in 2025.

It is expected that the authorities in charge of sanitation in Plateau State will not wait and believe the state would become open defecation free next year without rising up to enforce sanitation laws of the state.

All eyes are on the state as Nigeria look forward to a ODF nation in 2025. It is only a country or state that is hygienically upright that the government can effectively discharge expected responsibilities to the people.

 

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