by Lekan Olanrewaju
Well here’s a bit of… unpleasant news. While Nigerians trade theories over Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s World Bank presidency loss, the institution has given us one more reason to keep them in our conversations.
A new report by the World Bank has claimed that 32 million Nigerians defecate openly. The report, titled “Economic impacts of poor sanitation in Africa” is from a study on African countries such as Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Republic of Congo, Liberia, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.
An excerpt reads: “The desk study, Economic Impacts of Poor Sanitation in Africa, found the majority of these costs to production come from annual premature deaths, including children under the age of five, due to diarrhoea disease. Nearly 90 per cent of these deaths are directly attributable to poor water, sanitation, and hygiene.”.
It continues, saying: “Other significant costs were productivity losses from poor sanitation, and time lost through the practice of open defecation.
Adverse impacts of inadequate sanitation that are likely to be significant, but difficult and expensive to estimate, include the costs of epidemic outbreaks; losses in trade and tourism revenue; impact of unsafe excreta disposal on water resources; and the long-term effects of poor sanitation on early childhood development,”
On Nigeria it says:
“Poor sanitation costs Nigeria N455 billion each year, equivalent to US$3 billion, according to a desk study carried out by the Water and Sanitation Program (WSP).
This sum is the equivalent of US$20 per person in Nigeria per year or 1.3% of the national GDP.”
It goes on to say that despite these, eliminating the practice “would require less than 6.5 million latrines to be built and used.”
Well, there’s really nothing to say to this one.