According to Nigeria Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Poverty Diagnostics Report, it says Nigeria may overtake India as number one in open defecation come 2019.
The report shows that the economic growth of Nigeria, which has an estimated population of over 183 million, has not translated into rapid poverty reduction.
The Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, warned at the National Council on Water Resources meeting, held in Abuja between November 13 and 15, that if India was able to exit from its number one position in the list of countries with poor sanitation and open defecation by the middle of 2019, it would be a “national shame” for Nigeria not to.
He said”I was in India recently, the country has been adequately mobilised on issues of sanitation and open defecation. It is, therefore, a civic responsibility for all of us. “
“Three years ago, only 40 per cent of Indians were using toilets but now, 95 per cent of Indians are practising full sanitation practices.
“The Indians have not only stopped to defecate in the open, they are also recycling their waste into usable products; they have experienced a lot of transformation within three years.
“In the last three years, the Indians have built 80 million toilets; we need this kind of quantum leap in our country.
“By next year, wherever you go in the world, you would hear that Nigeria is number one in open defecation; that is a national shame which we must not allow to happen,” he said.
The minister, however, said that the federal government would soon enter into a technical cooperation with India to salvage the Nigerian situation.
Truly, the situation appears somewhat grim, as the 2017 WaterAid Report says that over 122 million Nigerians still lack access to basic sanitation facilities and ranks Nigeria as the third worst country with the poor access of its citizens to essential sanitation facilities in rural and urban areas.
It is quite true that many parts of Sub-Saharan Africa have limited access to WASH services, but Nigeria’s level of access lags far behind those of other peer countries, with 57 million Nigerians living without access to improved water, while 130 million others use unimproved sanitation facilities.