Some Kano residents have revealed that they continue to practice open defecation due to the high fees charged by operators of public toilets, popularly known as “Gidan Wanka”.
They stated this in an interview with Daily News 24 on World Toilet Day, celebrated annually on November 19.
This revelation coincides with the recent statement from the Minister of Environment, Malam Balarabe Lawal Abbas, highlighting that approximately 48 million Nigerians still engage in open defecation, relying on natural surroundings like bushes and water bodies for waste disposal.
The situation is further compounded by the fact that over 100 million people in the country lack access to basic sanitation, as mentioned by the Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Prof. Joseph Utsev.
The dire sanitation conditions in Nigeria have positioned the country among those with the highest number of people practicing open defecation.
According to the minister, various initiatives have been introduced by the government, emphasizing the importance of proper sanitation practices to curb this concerning trend.
However, despite these initiatives, some residents in Kano cited financial constraints as the primary reason for their continued engagement in open defecation.
They expressed the view that the costs associated with using commercial toilets were beyond their means.
“I feel like I don’t have any other option. Our home toilet is damaged, and commercial toilets are too expensive. That’s why I use this incomplete building because nobody lives here.”
Another person mentioned, “I am a stranger here; I don’t know anyone. I went to a public toilet, but the amount they quoted me was too expensive for me to afford. That’s why I use this incomplete building.”
“Contrary to these claims, Nasir Hassan, a regulator for commercial toilets in the Jakara area, denied any recent increases in fees for their facilities.”
“Someone will come to you with 30 Naira or 20, as it’s all they have, and you have no alternative but to accept it. This is the norm; some just don’t want to pay.”
As the nation grapples with the challenges of open defecation, there is a collective call for increased awareness, accessibility to affordable sanitation facilities, and collaborative efforts to address the root causes of this public health concern.