Federal Government needs to invest about N1.9 trillion to address Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) problems and end open defecation in the country by 2025.
This was disclosed by the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) at the media orientation it organised, in collaboration with the Childs Rights Bureau (CRIB) of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, in Maiduguri, Borno State.
Dr. Clement Adams, who is in charge of UNICEF Maiduguri office, noted that the organisation had supported state governments in the North East with the construction and rehabilitation of 4,752 and 2,976 toilets respectively across Internally displaced Persons (IDP) camps and communities, adding that about 200 sites had been supported with hand pump boreholes.
Adams stated that it was more cost-effective to construct more toilets for conflict-affected people than to treat cholera outbreaks with unnecessary mortalities.
Adams noted that practical steps towards ending open defecation by constructing more toilets and water sources, especially among the most vulnerable population whether in camps or host communities, need to be pursued, adding that schools, markets and other public places must not be left out.
UNICEF WASH Manager in Maiduguri, Mamita Thakkar, said Nigeria loses about N455 billion (1.3 per cent) of her Gross Domestic Product (GDP) yearly to poor access to sanitation.