For many, today 17th November 2015 is as normal as other days. However, to the United Nations (UN) and people of Idi Araba community of Lagos State, it is a day to be remembered and marked.
17th of November of every year is a date set aside as the World Toilet Day by the United Nations and this year is no exception.
In commemoration of the 2015 edition, the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), Lagos organised a sensitisation and awareness campaign in Idi Araba community of Mushin Local Government, Lagos State today.
The large crowd of community occupants set out from the Idi Araba car park with fliers, banners and customised outfits to educate the community dwellers on proper sanitation, safe environment and the importance of having toilets at every home.
They walked through several streets to the market and finally converged at the Idi Araba Community School Complex where the community received two mobile toilets donated by Reckitt and Beckinson Company.
Presenting the mobile toilets, Slyvan Oguzhan, the Marketing Director Reckitt and Beckinson, a home care product company charged the people of the community to corroborate the effort of the UN and other organisations in the move towards a safe environment.
“About 133,000 people die of diarrhea yearly and 90 percent of these people die because they don’t have access to clean toilets. About 1.3 percent of the GDP is lost yearly due to this particular problem. Many lives have been lost but it is not too late to revive.”
In concourrence, Ronald Kayanja, the Director of the UN information centre noted that it is only the collective effort of all that can make the world achieve its set targets.
“One out of every eight people practice open defecation and one out of every five of them is a Nigerian. The menace has eaten deep into our system but we can change for the better. If we can surmount the Ebola outbreak and kick out polio from the country, then it should be able to fight open defecation.”
“The target of UN is that by 2025, all Nigerians should have safe and clean toilets and by 2030, their should be clean water for all. These cannot be achieved alone by the government, corporate bodies or NGOs; it is a collective effort of all.” He stressed.
Speaking on the importance of clean toilet, Dr. Halima Alimi, Head of Education Committee, Female Muslim Doctors of the Islamic Medical Association of Nigeria(IMAN), Lagos Branch said that the availability of safe toilets cannot be compromised as its absence breeds various kinds of diseases.
“People do not see the link between poor sanitation and health, especially in rural areas. A lot of people don’t realise that open defecation encourages diarrhea, poor health and poverty, the time and money spent in hospitals paying bills you shouldn’t have paid will have been channeled to other things.
“They don’t realise the link between adequate safe water supply and environmental and personal sanitation. Open defecation leads to diarrhea, worm infections, malnutrition and it retards children growth both physically and mentally.to overcome this,our people should be educated on the need for them to provide and make use of clean toilets.”
Alhaji Idris Haruna the Seriki Hausawa of Idi-Araba Community, Mushin Local Government said that the community is glad to receive the kind gesture.
“We are happy to receive these two mobile toilets from Reckitt and Beckinson and UN. We also say thank you to the female Muslim doctors that brought the event to Idi Araba. We want to assure them that the community will make good use of it.
He further enjoined occupants of the community to keep their environment clean and desist from dumping refuse in the canals or flood ways