More people have access to mobile phones than toilets facilities in Nigeria, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), chief of Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Zaid Jurji, revealed.
Zaid who made this known at a two-day media dialogue on European Union (EU) Niger Delta Water Project in Port Harcourt, River State said, it is important Nigeria triples her investment in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) to achieve the SDG water and sanitation target of 2030.
Quoting the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) report released in January, 2018 Zaid said 140 million Nigerians have access to telephone facilities while 97 million have access to toilets facilities.
He added that though people need cell phone because it has improved a lot in the area of communication but hygiene is most important to environmental and human health.
Zaid also said, Nigeria remains number one country in Africa in the practice of Open Defecation (OD) adding that, investment in WASH is profitable for all.
“The real cost of OD in Nigeria are; disease and death, stunting, wasting, and malnutrition, loss of dignity, privacy and security, reduced school attendance, productivity and loss of GDP.”
He further said N234 billion is needed from the government for the realisation of Open Defecation Free zone in Nigeria while adding that poor government and counterpart funding has been threatening WASH projects across the country.
The Commissioner, River State Ministry of Water Resources and Rural Development, Prof Kaniye Ebeku represented by the acting permanent secretary in the Ministry, Emmanuel Amatemeso at the workshop said, the State government is glad at the provisions of the facilities by the EU and also pleased with it.
He also assured that River State is safe and people should debunk the rumour of insecurity in the region.
“There has not been any atom of insecurity as it has to do with the programme since inception. We urge everyone to relax.”