Dr Samuel Akingbehin, National President, Environmental Health Officers Association of Nigeria (EHOAN), on Sunday urged health officials to arrest and prosecute those involved in open defecation.
Akingbehin spoke in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos against the backdrop of the association’s 51st National Scientific Workshop scheduled to hold on Dec. 4 in Kano.
He expressed disappointment with some members of the public perpetrating the act, noting that the nation’s open defecation record had attracted global audience.
According to him, there are extant laws passed by various states against the menace of defecating in the open, saying such laws ought to be activated to regulate people’s unguided behaviours.
“The socio-economic and environmental effect of this misdeed is affecting good public health because the states and the Federal Government are spending huge funds on public health.
“It is wrong for somebody by way of easing him or herself to cause problems for others; for the practise gives rise to air and water-borne diseases that affects the people on a larger scale.
“There is need for us to look into the books and enforce the laws as directed and where need be, prosecute and punish those caught in the act to serve as deterrent to others,’’ Akingbehin said.
He said that the association through its forthcoming International Conference on Open Defecation in December, would evolve sustainable strategies to abate the phenomenon.
“Apart from its health implication, the act which is prevalent in the cities, is a concern to health officers and is denting the country’s image and, therefore, has to be stopped,’’ Akingbehin said.
He said that the drive by EHOAN at effectively preventing diseases would result in promoting healthy living and prolonging citizens’ life span.