Kogi State Government said it has constructed 23 public toilets in some major towns across the state as part of efforts to discourage open defecation among residents.
The state’s Commissioner for Environment and Physical Development, Mr Sanusi Yahaya, disclosed this on Tuesday in Lokoja while speaking during an advocacy visit by a team from the Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC).
He said that 18 of the toilet facilities were constructed by the previous administrations while the administration of Gov. Yahaya Bello built five in Lokoja, Isanlu, Okene, Ogugu and Ayingba.
He said that, while those located in Lokoja, Isanlu and Ogugu had been inaugurated, works were nearing completion on those located in Okene and Anyigba, saying that the toilets were fitted with boreholes.
Yahaya said adequate provisions had been made in the state’s 2018 budget for the construction of more public toilets in some other major towns to promote hygiene and sanitation among the people.
The Commissioner said that his ministry has held series of meetings with market leaders in Lokoja on the need to stop dumping refuse in River Niger, saying that another public toilet will be constructed at the Kpata market in Lokoja to curb open defection along the bank of the river.
According to him, landlords in major towns in the state are also being encouraged to provide toilet facilities in their houses.
The commissioner explained that the state government will not hesitate to sanction any landlord that fails to comply.
He said that state government was intensifying efforts to complete the ongoing embankment project on the bank of River Niger.
He said that the project when completed will put an end to perennial flooding of Kabawa, Sarki Noma, Galililee and Kpapatankoto areas of Lokoja.
Yahaya disclosed that government had engaged a private firm to handle the cleaning and evacuation of waste in Lokoja to the designated dump site, where a waste recycling plant was being constructed.
The commissioner, however, said that some undesirable elements had embarked on the destruction of waste bins placed in strategic points in Lokoja, asking members of the public and civil society to help curb this.
He lauded the JDPC in Lokoja and Idah dioceses for embarking on an advocacy programme aimed at improving water, hygiene and sanitation in 13 selected communities of the state, expressing government’s readiness to partner with the organisation to achieve its objectives.
Earlier, the Coordinator of JDPC in Lokoja diocese, Rev.Fr. Leonard Odomeja told the commissioner that the advocacy project was aimed at bridging the gap between duty bearers and citizens.
Odomeja, who was represent by the Secretary of the organisation, Mr Simon Enejoh, said that the programme had helped in recording an improvement in sanitation and hygiene of the communities where it is being implemented.
He also said that the advocacy project was being expanded to cover more communities in the state, urging the state to deploy more sanitary inspectors to sustain and improve upon the achievement being recorded.