Ideally, open defection ought not to be an issue in Nigeria in 21st century. Sadly, contrary to expectation, it is. Logically, it points to bad leadership, abysmal failure of governments for ages. Seriously, the act is a repulsively primordial practice that cuts across all strata of society; gender, status and careers despite its negative consequences, albeit predominant among the underprivileged class.
Without a doubt, it sounds comical but a reality. Yes, open defecation transcends homeless, primitive and uneducated people. People of diverse vocations also do fall victims of unexpected stomach upset while on journey. And most times, it is abysmally remedied by the unwholesome practice. Of course, nobody will bravely own up to being a perpetrator if not caught red-handed in the jungle or witnessed by co-travellers.
And so, the odious misconduct is practiced by two groups; circumstantial perpetrators and habitual practitioners. Whatever the category, excreting outside toilets is open defecation.
Recently, President Muhammadu Buhari signalled to end open defecation in the country by 2025. To actualize this, at least, 2million toilets must be added annually. Some state and local governments have slightly keyed into the scheme. For emphasis, the nuisance apart from contributing to scores of deaths of vulnerable children who every now and then are infected with diseases, likewise often result to their low productivity as a result of absences in schools while ailing.
Governments at all levels; federal, state and local government need concerted actions towards ending the menace. Of course, a radical approach by the government through legal mechanism alongside zero tolerance on enforcement is indispensable.
By Carl Umegboro is a public affairs analyst and Associate, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (United Kingdom).
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