CURRENT emphasis on habitation and good health globally are on the environment. The prerequisites for a healthy environment include the eradication of open defecation which Nigeria, an endemic country is desirous to change and become totally free of the repugnant situation.
ACCORDING to the United Nations, open defecation is a prevalent trend in Nigeria but efforts at its eradication are yielding positive results with many states of the federation, including Benue fast attaining an open defecation free status, the United Nations recommend for a healthy living in every nation.
UNARGUABLY, open defecation is a rampant culture in many Nigerian communities. The practice predominates the rural areas where facilities are in gross supply and the inhabitants resort to undignified practices such as defecation in forests, footpaths and enclosures injurious to the environment and unhealthy for human beings.
THE lack of public convenience and facilities for urination and defecation in many Nigerian towns and cities exercabated the situation until the recent reprieve by evolving and gradual transformations of the country through United Nations funded programmes in collaborations with state governments and institutions.
BENUE State is among parts of the country open defecation is prevalent but is diminishing. Six out of her twenty three Local Government Areas have been declared free of it and the state government has reaffirmed a commitment to the actualization of a complete freedom from the practice for a total open defecation status of the state.
AT a recent function, the wife of the state governor, Dr. (Mrs.) Eunice Ortom disclosed plans to eradicate open defecation in the remaining seventeen Local Government Areas so as to obtain a healthier environment the predominant agrarian population require for optimum productivity.
THE ratio of open defecation free Local Government Areas in Benue State to where the habit remains persistent is six to seventeen signifying a wide margin that accentuates on the urgency of its complete eradication and the doubling of efforts to achieve this therefore, the state government should expedite action in this, regard.
PUBLIC awareness and sensitization on the prevalence and health hazards of the habit should intensify in the Benue urban and rural dwelling places. The education of the public on acceptable standards and norms is sacrosanct therefore, the state government in collaboration with relevant organizations and individuals should rise to the challenge.
MORE importantly, the provision of public conveniences and facilities for urination and defecation in accessible locations cannot be overemphasized. Many who are yet to recant will do so with such a provision. The state government therefore, should explore the effective remedy to open defecation that lies with this and act accordingly.
FINALLY, open defecation requires synergy to eradicate and should be approached from this standpoint. A synergy eliciting the cooperation of the public and requiring the support of financial institutions, corporate organizations and enlightened individuals to the state government is therefore, stressed else an open defecation free Benue state ends up a utopian pursuit.