OGUN State government has threatened to seal off any house built without a toilet facility and to arrest and prosecute anyone caught defecating in the open as part of a new environmental sanitation plan.
Like many of Nigeria’s 36 states, Ogun suffers from inadequate sanitation due to limited public toilet facilities, which forces many people to ease themselves out in the open. Also, many houses, particularly in the countryside, lack toilet facilities, so occupants have to go into the bush to relieve themselves.
In a bit to clamp down on this and avoid a major health scare, the new Ogun State government has launched an environmental health campaign. Yetunde Dina, the permanent secretary in the Ogun State Ministry of Environment, unveiled the new plans in Abeokuta to mark the National Environmental Day.
At this year’s event which had the theme Stop Open Defecation for Healthy Living, Mrs Dina pointed out that the state government would begin to arrest and prosecute anyone defecating in the open. She lamented the high rate of open defecation in the state, saying it was so because some houses, schools and markets were built without toilets.
Mrs Dina said: “Anybody caught will be arrested and prosecuted. We are going to be strict with violators this time round.
“We are going to seal off houses without toilet facilities. Such houses would not be opened until they have the facilities.”
According to the permanent secretary, it is sad that Nigeria is rated second in open defecation after India. Nationally, the federal government has launched a plan to end open defecation by 2025, as at the moment, only 10 out of a total of 774 local government areas in Nigeria do not practice open defecation.