We lack toilet facilities, Port Harcourt Jetties, shop owners cry out

Governor Nyesom Wike

Governor Nyesom Wike

Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike

By Okafor Ofiebor

As Nigerians celebrated World Toilets Day yesterday, the sanitary state of the toilet facilities in most of the loading Jetties around the capital city of Port Harcourt came under focus as the seafarers and boat operators described the mode of their defecation as akin to that of a jungle.

Boat owners and passengers spoken to lamented lack of standard toilet facilities to ease themselves whenever they were pressed.

One them, Mr Timeless Abam, said “Here is like a jungle. If the environment is dried here you pity women, especially the elderly who experience great difficulty easing themselves in the open on makeshift wooden toilets”.

A visit to Rumuapara Community Secondary School at Nkpolu-Rumuigbo in Obio-Akpor local government area of Rivers State, which had been the in news lately regarding environmental hazards due to flooding, revealed a serious situation of lack of good toilet facilities.

It was found out that after Association Public Health Practitioners in Rivers State raised alarm over the health hazards the students were facing due to fear of possible environmental pollution, the State Ministry of Health provided mobile toilets for the students but disappeared a few days after.

Students find it difficult to ease themselves when pressed by nature. They either defecate at any corner available or struggle and hold it until they get home.

Also a visit to a few Waterfronts out of the 44 that surround the the capital city of Port Harcourt to ascertain the the state of their toilet facilities showed that residents are exposed to environmental hazards and infections associated with poor toilet facilities.

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At the Afikpo, Bundu and Elechi Beach Waterfronts, residents did not have anything near standard toilets.

They used makeshift wooden toilets built on top water, with their human excrement dropping direct into the rivers.

Shop owners in Akwaka, Rumuokoro, Rumuodamaya, and Obio-Akpor International markets decry lack of toilets.

In markets where toilets were available, they are unhygienic.

However, a cleaner of one of the public toilets in Rumuokoro, a widow, Madam Sarima Nnamdi, decried the unhygienic attitude of residents in the area.

“Some of people who use the toilets are mean. They will leave normal place and just poo or wee on the floor. Some of don’t flush the toilets even when there is water. The job is stressful but what can I do?”

Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Charles George, has urged traders to ensure they keep their environment clean by maintaining the toilet facilities provided.

He made the call after monitoring some toilets in some markets in the state capital and it’s environs as part of the activities of the World Toilets’ Day, declared by World Health Organization (WHO) on 19th day of November every year.