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13.4m Nigerians engage in open defecation, says WaterAid

By Our Correspondent

An international body, WaterAid has ranked Nigeria, the third country in the world and the worst in Sub-Saharan Africa where urban dwellers live without a safe private toilet.

The verdict is contained in the latest report on State of the World Toilets for 2016 released on Wednesday by the Country Representative of the agency in Nigeria, Dr. Michael Ojo.

According to the report, 58 million people in in the country out of the 700 million urban dwellers around the world live without basic sanitation.

“The problem is so big that 13.5 million people living in Nigeria’s towns and cities have no choice but to defecate in the open using roadsides, railway tracks and even plastic bags dubbed ‘flying toilets’.”

Ojo in the statement added that Nigeria also ranks top in the countries falling furthest behind in reaching people with urban sanitation.

“For every urban dweller reached with sanitation since 2000, two were added to the number living without, an increase of 31 million people in the last 15 years.”

He noted that adequate sanitation could create jobs and prosperity directly and indirectly, adding that there exists a potential market of more than $2.6bn in sanitation.

The report further noted that an investment in improving access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene was probably the most effective investment Nigeria could make to grow its economy and better the lives of its people.

On other findings, the report stated that India ranked top for having the greatest number of urban dwellers living without safe private toilet and put the number of persons in this category at 157 million.

“It is also a world leader in having the most urban dwellers practicing open defecation – 41 million,” the report noted.

It said war-ravaged South Sudan, the world’s newest nation, is the worst country in the world for urban sanitation by percentage, adding that 84 per cent of dwellers in its urban centres had no access to a toilet and every other urban-resident practiced open defecation.

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