The federal government has identified two Northcentral states, Kwara state alongside Plateau State with the highest population involved in open defecation.
The Director of Water Quality Control and Sanitation, Ministry of Water Resources, Emmanuel Awe, disclosed this at the 2021 First Quarter Lunchtime Seminar for Media Executives in Abuja.
He called for concerted efforts from all Nigerians to do more towards ending open defecation practice.
Mr Awe disclosed the ministry had inaugurated 77,400 youth volunteers to act as hygiene ambassadors towards scaling up sanitation and hygiene in the country.
He, however, pointed out that the ministry obtained the data from the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene National Outcome Routine Mapping Survey (WASH-NORM), launched in 2018 to fill the chronic gaps in monitoring and routine assessment of the status of the WASH services in Nigeria.
According to him, Nigeria still ranks the highest country with the highest number of persons defecating openly, losing no fewer than N455 billion annually to poor sanitation.
Mr Awe pointed out that if the country could invest more in sanitation infrastructure, sustainable ways of safe disposal of wastes, there would be increased business opportunities and improved productivity.
He added that the country could see poor sanitation’s adverse effects in the underdevelopment of children, loss of manpower, low socioeconomic development, among others.
The director identified open defecation as a major contributor to rising cases of kidnapping and sexual violence, noting that this could occur as a result of searching for convenient places to answer the call of nature.