The Ekiti State Government has set 2021 as the target for the eradication of open defecation in the state.
The state Commissioner for Public Utilities and Infrastructure, Bamidele Faparusi, disclosed this to journalists in Ado Ekiti on Monday at the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the United Nations Children Endowment Fund (UNICEF).
Mr Faparusi said the memorandum with UNICEF was reached following the damning report that Ekiti was the second in open defecation practice in the country.
He said UNICEF had used Ekiti West and Gboyin local governments for the pilot scheme and that the two councils have almost recorded zero open defecation, following the provision of low-cost toilet facility at every household.
He said the state government would soon begin the construction of public toilets across the 16 local government areas of the state.
The commissioner said the state Rural Water Sanitation Agency (RUWASA) had done a baseline study that would help the government in kick-starting the programme.
“We are working on the data provided by RUWASA and we shall work on it to be able to know the number of facilities to provide,” said Mr Faparusi.
“Open defecation is dangerous to our hygiene and health, so we need to fight it headlong.
“It is an age-long practice, it cannot stop in a day. We are also planning a sewage processing facility in Ado Ekiti metropolis that will enhance sanitation. We have a special road map to tackle these problems.”
Mr Faparusi stated that the governor, Kayode Fayemi, had begun heavy investment in Ero and Egbe dams, with massive reticulation exercise in about nine local government areas to help the open defecation-free scheme.
“Ekiti will key into the idea of toilet facilities if provided, because of the large number of educated people in our state,” he said.
“Construction of mobile toilets are in the pipeline, but all can’t be provided in a day. There will be mobile toilets for events. Our policy will address all these,”
The government also directed the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) to ensure that all the residential and commercial buildings in the state were metered for accurate billing.
Mr Faparusi said metering of all houses became inevitable as a result of the use of estimated billing which is too exorbitant.
He said all the landlords would be sensitised to key into the water supply scheme of government, saying water from treated dams was more hygienic than well and other sources.
“For the supply of water and electricity in Ekiti, we won’t allow our people to be cheated. Just like we told BEDC, there must be accurate billing,” he said.
“We will mandate the Ekiti State Water Corporation to charge an affordable price for water supply, so every resident can key into the water supply scheme of the government.”