By Blessing Odega
The General Manger of Plateau Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency, Mr Peter Kassam, says the by-law prohibiting open defecation is effective in Shendam Local Government and open defecation is punishable by the law.
Kassam said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Jos, observing that Shendam is the first local government in the state to sign the by-law prohibiting open defecation.
“The law states that defaulters would be fined the sum of N10,000 or face imprisonment or both penalties,” he warned.
He said that the by-law passed by the local government was now in use in the bid to prevent the menace of open defecation.
“For better achievement, the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) department gave the local government area a window period before the strict enforcement of the law as soon as the window period elapses,” he said.
He said that in a bid to curb open defecation in the rural areas, the agency came up with a draft, which was disseminated to all the 17 local government areas in Plateau in 2021.
This, Kassam noted, was to review and pass it through their executive or legislative arms with a view to coming up with their findings and rules peculiar to them.
He said that the agency had been sensitising critical stakeholders comprising traditional rulers in the various rural areas on the need to end open defecation.
He further noted that the various stakeholders had pledged their support to ending open defecation, following advocacy on the dangers of open defecation.
“Good sanitation is a major stepping stone to good health as diseases, such as cholera and diarrhea, could be traced to poor sanitation,” he said.
Similarly, the General Manger, Plateau Environmental Protection and Sanitation Agency, Mr Gabriel Bako, said the “agency is doing its best to ensure that all houses in the metropolis have toilets”.
Bako said that notices had been served to all the houses without toilets to provide one for their occupants, warning that defaulters who had been served notices might be prosecuted.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Plateau ranks second in terms of open defecation in the country as at May, 2021.(NAN)