Minister of State, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Dr. Ramatu Aliyu has faulted claims by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), 50 per cent of Abuja residents defecate in the open.
She assured that the FCT Administration would work closely with the six area councils and other agencies of government in addressing challenges of water supply, sanitation and hygiene in rural communities.
The minister described as worrisome the last assessment carried out by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in collaboration with UNICEF, stating that 50 per cent of Abuja residents defecate in the open.
Aliyu, who stated this during an inspection tour of facilities in Gwagwalada Area Council, also commended the FCT Universal Basic Education Board (UBEB) for the construction of two blocks of VIP toilet at Tunga Maje Secondary School.
According to a statement by her Media Assistant, Austine Elemue, the Minister said the present rating is unacceptable, assuring that the FCT Administration is determined to change the narratives.
Aliyu reiterated that the provision of potable water supply, adequate sanitation and hygiene are primarily the responsibilities of states and local governments, stressing that if the respective authorities fail to resolve this ambiguous menace, the target to end open defecation in the nation’s capital on or before 2025 maybe unrealistic.
According to her, “It is important to emphasise that the provision of potable water supply, adequate sanitation and hygiene are primarily the responsibilities of states and local governments or area councils, as in the case of the FCT.
“Let me state unequivocally that if the respective authorities (States and Local Governments) fail to resolve this ambiguous menace, the target to end open defecation in the nation’s capital may be unrealistic.
“It saddens my heart to note that currently 102, 000 children die annually due to diseases related to sanitation. We must join hands to address this menace.
“More worrisome is the fact that the last assessment carried out in collaboration with the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and UNICEF, 50 per cent of Abuja residents defecate in the open. This is unacceptable and we are determined to change the narratives.
“Henceforth, the FCT Administration will work closely with the six Area Councils and other Agencies of Government to scale-up commitment to implement the National WASH Action Plan to end open defecation”.
The minister expressed concern over the state of the automated abattoir under construction in Tunga Maje of Gwagwalada Area Council, just as she charged the contractor to speed up the progress of work.
She assured the contractor handling the project that the FCT Administration will resolve some ambiguities surrounding the access road with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.