- Lagos public toilet operators are lamenting over low patronage
- Lagos state government through its Wash Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) policy recently sought to eradicate the menace of open defecation and urination in the state
- A public toilet operator in Coaste street in Oko-Baba community, Idris Balogun, said women patronise his toilet more than men who prefer to defecate in the Lagoon for free
Legit.ng's investigation has revealed that there has been a major decline in the patronage of public toilet in Lagos state as some residents prefer to answer nature’s call in the open, thereby affecting the income of public toilet operators in the state.
Subair Mohammed, Legit.ng's regional reporter, reports that the Lagos state government through its Wash Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) policy recently sought to eradicate the menace of open defecation and urination in the state but the ugly trend remains unchecked.
It was gathered that Oko-Baba, a riverine community in the east of Lagos mainland, is a community known for saw milling business with logs of wood stack in the lagoon taking turn to be processed.
Investigation reveals that as the log of woods lie in the lagoon awaiting their session at the sawmill, residents in Oko-Baba community, especially male use them to defecate openly.
The resident see the log of woods as platforms on which they answer the call of nature and it has translate into bad businesses for public toilet operators within the environment.
Speaking on the public defection in the area, a public toilet operator in Coaste street in Oko-Baba community, Alhaji Idris Balogun, popular as ‘Baba Shower' lamented open defecation has negatively affected his business.
According to him, women patronise his toilet more than men who rather than pay N50 per toilet session, prefer to defecate in the Lagoon for free.
He said: “I have more customers coming in to bathe than to answer nature’s call. The habit of defecating on the lagoon in the open that is cultivated by male residents is killing my business.
"On a daily basis, in fact, at every minute you will see them with a stick of cigarette in the hand walking on the wood to the lagoon to shamelessly answer the call of nature with the intention of not wanting to pay N50 at the public toilet.
"To them, using the lagoon is free but if only they know that its consequence cost much more than the token they evaded.
"Talking about the air pollution it brings about, Cholera, and its impact on the environment. So, toilet business has been bad in this part of the community. It is only women who value their bodies that patronize us because they don’t want to expose their priced possessions to the public.”
Speaking about the environment impact of open defecation, Oluwole Ajetunmobi, an environment expert, said answering nature’s call in the open is not only dangerous to human health, he insisted that it retards growth and investment.
He, however, advised the state government to construct public toilet at every bus terminal in the state to be used by residents free of charge.
He said: “If we are to rely on public toilet to remedy the menace of open defecation, the negative impact will abide with us forever because it is not all persons that could afford to pay N50 for the use of public toilet.
"But the menace will be easy to manage if the Lagos state government could include at least construction of an ultra-modern toilet facility in the design of the bus terminal stations that they are building around the state. With this anybody that is pressed can walk into the toilet and use without having to pay.
"With this done, a law criminalizing open urination and defecation can be enforced. But if we have to depend on the public toilet, I doubt there will be an end to people openly urinating and defecation in the public place.”
Moshood Aluko, who operated the popular public toilet at Olumese in Oshodi, Lagos which now houses the construction of a mega bus station by the state government, said people hardly defecate in the open in Oshodi despite its huge population before the state government demolished his public toilet.
He said: “When the toilet was operating, we made much sales and the environment was cleaner and healthier. People prefer to use our toilet because it was so neat and clean.
"But since we were evicted by the state government for the construction of a mega bus station, I want to believe that a modern public toilet will be built there because Oshodi on a daily basis plays host to tens of thousand of market men and women and other road users and it will be disastrous for such a big trade centre not to have a toilet facility.
"Health is wealth and it is only if we are healthy that we can work hard to be wealthy. I want to appeal to the State government to make provisions for the construction of public toilets at strategic locations in the state. The mobile toilets are not ideal for such environment like Ohodi and other market places like ours," he said.
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Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that in a bid to tackle open defecation in Lagos state, RB (Reckitt Benckiser) partnered with the Lagos state ministry of environment to upgrade and refurbish 25 public toilet units for four communities in Lagos state.
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