The Director-General, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mr Garba Abari, said the agency has trained 17 Community Orientation and Mobilisation Officers (COMOs) for the campaign against open defecation in Enugu State.
He said this on Monday in Enugu during a one-day sensitisation campaign on Open Defecation Free Nigeria.
Abari, who was represented at the event by a deputy director in the Enugu office of NOA, Mrs Theresa Maduekwe, said that the campaign also served as a workshop for the COMOs.
The director general said that it had become necessary to involve the agency in the campaign against open defecation due to the hazards it posed to society.
He advised the COMOs to see themselves as professionals that had been deployed to the rural communities for a very important task.
He said that Nigeria had set out to achieve free open defecation status by 2025, adding that the task was enormous but achievable.
“We want our environment to be clean and resilient. The reason for this programme is for our children to have good health.
“The agency has the reach and with the needed commitment we shall achieve it,” Abari said.
In a goodwill message, the Acting National Coordinator, Clean Nigeria – Use the Toilet Campaign, Mrs Chizoma Opara, said it was sad that no local government area in the Southeast was open defecation free.
Opara, who is an assistant director in the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, said that only 24 of the 774 council areas in the country had attained such status.
She said that the various state governments in the South-East needed the political will to initiate necessary policies that would facilitate the attainment of open defecation status.
She said that the ministry was passionate about partnering with NOA to attain the 2025 free open defecation timeline.
Also, the Communication for Development Specialist, UNICEF, Enugu, Mr Hilary Ozoh, said that the programme was a provided the platform to engage experienced people.
Ozoh said that it would be easy to achieve open defecation status in the Southeast considering the level of the people’s exposure.
“We should begin to put the milestones that will guide us toward achieving the target,” he said.
Earlier, the State Director of NOA, Mr Isaac Onukwube, said that open defecation had led to a myriad of sicknesses, including diarrhea, worm infestation, typhoid, cholera and others.
“There is a need for aggressive nationwide campaign against open defecation in order to eliminate these diseases.
“We must deliberately device a strategy to improve the skills and competence of the foot soldiers saddled with the campaign and that is why we are here,” he said.
The state director said that his team would carryout statewide tour of the rural communities after the workshop.
Onukwube urged the COMOs to maintain high standard of competence while carrying out their duties in their respective local government areas. (NAN)