- Some residents of Osun state have appealed to Governor Gboyega Oyetola to save the state from another epidemic
- It was gathered that about 65% of the residents of the state resort to open defecation
- In many areas of the state, the public toilets built by the past governments have become dilapidated
As Nigerians continue to battle with the novel coronavirus pandemic, residents of Ikire, the headquarters of the Irewole local government area of Osun state, have appealed to Governor Gboyega Oyetola to save them from another epidemic that might befall the ancient town.
Legit.ng's regional reporter in Osun, Ibrahim Akinola, reports that the residents of the area could not hide their displeasure over the unabated spate of open defecation and the sorry state of government toilet facilities built by past administrations some years back.
In an interaction with Legit.ng, some of the residents blamed the neglect of the public property on the failure of the successive governments to maintain the projects of the past governments. They also said that many people lack maintenance cultures.
A resident of ward 6 of the town, Babatunde Ogunshola said:
"The toilet here as you can see was built by honourable Lere Oyewumi, the then local government chairman of this council during the administration of former governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola. Unfortunately, that is the pathetic state it is now. The problem is that we run a disjointed government in this country. We don't see government as a continuum and we lack maintenance culture.
"Every successive government keeps on abandoning the good initiative of past administrations just for political or whatever reason known to them. You see, who can use this public toilet in this manner? Even, animals cannot.
"I can tell you authoritatively that this is how rotten all the public toilet facilities are across the state. Look at this street and many streets in this area, hardly you can find a house with a toilet facility including the one I am living. Open defecation has become our culture here. You need to come very early in the morning to understand what I mean."
In his comments, another resident of the area Abdullah asked the state government should take the wellness of the citizens with utmost priority and find a lasting solution to this menace of open defecation.
He said the government should use a practical approach than budgeting millions of Naira for social media and several futile campaigns threatening people to stop open defecation the way some state governments are currently doing.
"The truth of the matter is that the state government should take the wellness of the citizens with utmost priority and find a lasting solution to this menace of open defecation. And this is by either building reasonable and well maintained public toilet facilities or ensuring that every house has at least one, through an enforceable "toilet per house" promulgation.
"This will be a more practical approach than budgeting millions of Naira for social media and several futile campaigns threatening people to stop open defecation the way some state governments are currently doing.
They simply budget huge some of money for what I call 'mere jamboree' campaigns. They clad some people in branded shirts and caps with various inscriptions thinking this would detter people who have no access to toilet facilities from open defecation. My brother, it is laughable, ridiculous and saddening at the same time.
"How can you solve this problem by threatening people? Without providing an alternative? Perhaps the government should tell people not to defecate at all? You have many of these facilities built more than a decade ago that have become dilapidated.
He wondered why the dilapidated public toilets could not be repaired and refurbished to standard, adding that, "must public property always be rotten away? I advise the government to act fast before an outbreak of disease that may be difficult to control. We already have more than enough this year alone."
Speaking on the plight of people of the area, an octogenarian, Pa Soliu Fawole, begged the incumbent government in the state to at least repair the public toilet in the area that has become unusable for long.
"Could you believe that there is no single house here with a toilet? I can only appeal to the government to help us. There was once a cholera outbreak here and we don't want a repeat of such. When asked about how they managed to relieve themselves when pressed. We either use that bushy dilapidated building or a space at the the back of the Holy Cross Catholic school."
Legit.ng observed that the public toilet facilities built across the state around nearly the same time have become moribund and practically unusable.
It was learnt that several places in the ancient areas of the state face the same challenges with people calling on the government to come to their rescue in no distant time.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that a non-governmental organisation, Connected Development (CODE), commended the Taraba state governor, Darius Ishaku, for assenting to the State Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Bill before the stipulated deadline.
It was reported that the chief executive of CODE, Hamzat Lawal, stated that the Taraba government, including its House of Assembly, has proven itself as the people’s parliament by rebuilding residents’ trust in government institutions to deliver on improved public services.
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