The Minister of State for Environment, Barr Sharon Ikeazor said with 47 million Nigerians still practicing open defecation, there is need to reawaken societal consciousness on the importance of having eco-friendly sanitary facilities in every household and ensuring proper management of sewage.
Speaking at an event to mark the 2019 World Toilet Day with theme "Toilet For All" "Leaving no one Behind" yesterday in Abuja, she said this year commemoration is focusing on ensuring that toilet construction, use and management are Ecosystem friendly.
Ikeazor, while noting that access to sanitation is still very poor, below 36 per cent for majority of the populace, she said the absence of adequate sanitary facilities in schools constitute a great threat to school enrolment, particularly for female child.
"One of the major consequences of poor excreta disposal is the high rate of diarrhea disease which is the second cause of high morbidity and mortality amongst children under the age of five," she said.
The sanitation crisis, she said, if allowed to continue will undermine the overreaching ambition of the 2030 agenda: to build safe, more resilient societies on a healthy planet and this means the failure to attain Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 target which is 'Sanitation and Water for All'.
Earlier, the director of pollution, Charles Ikeah, said sanitation, like education and health, is a fundamental building block in the fight against national poverty and preventable diseases.
"We are yet to achieve much in terms of ensuring people have access to basic sanitation," he added.
The President of Environmental Health Officers Association, FCT Chapter, Damian Mgbaramuko said if Nigeria must overcome open defecation in the shortest time there is urgent need therefore to employ sizable number of health professionals at the federal, state and local government level across the country.