The Gombe State Government, in a bid to end open defecation by 2025, has declared a state of emergency in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector.
The Commissioner for Water Resources, Alhaji Mijinyawa Yahaya, disclosed this in Gombe on Wednesday at a news conference, after the State Executive Council meeting.
Yahaya said that Gov. Inuwa Yahaya had signed an Executive Order to that effect.
The commissioner said that the declaration was made following the governor’s reception of a memo by the Ministry of Water Resources, dated Nov. 26.
According to him, the Executive Order 006 of 2020, as signed by the governor, is also aimed at ensuring that the state is open defecation-free by 2025.
The commissioner stressed that the WASH statistics for 2018, which he described as “very disturbing’’, necessitated the government’s action aimed at bridging the existing gaps in the citizens’ access to water and sanitation.
“Part of the state government’s effort in improving people’s access to water would include construction of 332 boreholes in different locations in the state.
“Plans are also ongoing for the establishment of public toilets, especially in densely populated areas and specifically in motor parks, markets, hospitals and schools,’’ he said.
Yahaya said that his ministry would also embark on massive public awareness campaigns to sensitise people of the state, especially those in rural communities, to the dangers of open defecation.
He stressed that the state government was striving to address the challenge of water supply, in the overall interest of the people of the state.
“Part of such efforts was the approval of N250 million for the implementation of the Partnership for Expanded Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (PEWASH) programme in the state,’’ he said.