From Charity Nwakaudu, Abuja

The Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation, under the leadership of Prof Joseph Terlumun Utsev, has expressed its readiness to collaborate with the Abia State Government in ending Open Defecation in the state.

Prof. Utsev shared insights during a meeting with Abia State Commissioner for Power and Public Utilities, Engr. Ikechukwu Monday, in his office in Abuja.

Prof Utsev commended the State’s efforts in tackling Open Defecation and expressed the Ministry’s commitment through the ‘Clean Nigeria Campaign’ to collaborate closely with the Abia State Government, led by Governor Alex Otti, for the success of this initiative.

The Minister assured that the Federal Government is fully committed to providing essential support for Abia State to attain Open Defecation Free status. He urged the state government to heighten its efforts and exhibit tangible dedication to this important cause.

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Engr Ikechukwu Monday, Commissioner for Power and Public Utilities, affirmed the Abia State Government’s commitment to achieving Open Defecation Free status in 2024. He highlighted the state’s efforts, including the construction of toilet facilities in public places, and appealed to the Federal Government to complete the ongoing water project in the State.

The Commissioner also expressed the State’s willingness to partner with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation on its WASH programme. In addition, he informally requested that Abia State hosts the year 2024 edition of the Ministry’s Council meeting.

In her remarks, Mrs. Elizabeth Ugoh, the Director, Water Quality Control and Sanitation, Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation, emphasised that this collaboration gains strength as only 2 percent of Abia State’s population practices Open Defecation, supporting the momentum to eradicate this practice in the state.

She further underscored the need for unwavering support from the Governor, LGA Chairmen, and a substantial budget allocation for a comprehensive behavioural campaign to reach the grassroots in the campaign against Open Defecation.

Regarding the laboratory facility provided by the Ministry in Abia State, Mrs. Ugoh clarified that skeletal work has commenced, assuring that the facility will operate at full capacity once the necessary equipment is delivered.