The Oyo State Government, Southwest Nigeria, has joined the rest of the world to commemorate the World Toilet Day by condemning open defecation and dumping of refuse on medians, streams and highways and asking citizens to play their part in keeping the state clean.
During the ceremony to commemorate the day, held on Friday at the state Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan, the Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, Mr Abiodun Oni, disclosed that no fewer than 25 persons are arrested daily in Ibadan, the state capital, for indiscriminate waste disposal and other environment and sanitation offences.
Oni bemoaned that despite day and night arrests, the state continued to be faced with unbelievable heaps of refuse on medians and roadsides, decrying the failure of people, both young and old, to yield to appeals and continue to pack litter from their houses and offices, to surreptitiously drop them in the middle of the road.
“The more we are clearing dirt, it seems the more we are getting the place messed up.
It seems people are dumping the dirt to task us that it is our responsibility to continue to pack the dirt.
The kinds of heaps of refuse we see these days are unbelievable.
I go round every night and we catch people.
“I ran into a woman three nights ago; she dropped litter and we had to arrest her.
She said she is a widow and I told her that my mum is also a widow and won’t drop waste indiscriminately.
It pained me that we had to apprehend her and take her to tribunal.
I know our governor does not want that to happen to his people but we also have to help him to help us,” the commissioner stated.
He disclosed that the state House of Assembly had just passed a Bill on the prohibition of open defecation and offenders would be prosecuted once the law became operational, noting that the state government would no longer tolerate disgruntled elements destroying its efforts at ensuring a clean environment.
Various stakeholders at the event prayed that the people would see the task of ensuring a clean environment as theirs and not solely that of government, while also calling for the empowerment of environmental health officers, so they could efficiently carry out their duties without fear.
Market leaders at the event, including the Iyaloja of Oyo state, Chief Labake Lawal, urged the government to provide toilets at markets and public spaces, if rampant open defecation is to dwindle in the state and to arrest persons who have piled up debris in front of them.
A representative of the Arewa Community in the state, Aishat Lawal, said there was the need for government to build toilets in the Sabo Community to prevent recurrent outbreaks of epidemics in the community.
The World Toilet Day is an official United Nations day, observed annually on November 19, to draw attention to the fact that toilets and the sanitation systems that support them are underfunded, poorly managed or neglected in many parts of the world.
The theme for this year’s celebration, “Valuing Toilet,” aims at achieving the UN SDGs Goal number 6 which is: Water and Sanitation for all by 2030.
Oyo State condemns open defecation, indiscriminate waste disposal