The federal government through the Ministry of Water Reaources, has presented Agatu Local Government Area of Benue State with a Certificate of Open Defecation Free (ODF).
Agatu local government is the 4th out of 23 LGAs in the state and 11th out of 774 LGAs across the nation to attain the status of ODF.
The certificate was presented to Agatu LG on Tuesday in Makurdi, during the end of programme review and close out meeting of Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion In Nigeria, (RUSHPIN) in Benue state with highlight on achievements, challenges and prospects.
The meeting which was the last of RUSHPIN programme was supported by the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, (WSSCC) which will be transiting to Sanitation and Hygiene Fund, (SHF) to kick start in the year 2021.
Agatu was validated ODF in January 2020 by the National Task Group on Sanitation, (NTGS), leading to the celebration of the status on Tuesday.
Speaking during presentation, the General Manager of Benue Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency, (BERWASSA), Mrs.Torkwase Ikyaator charged the local government to sustain efforts to maintain the ODF status.
She charged the LGA Chairman, Mr. Suleiman Adoyi to go back and ensure that public places such as markets, Worship centres among others are provided with improved toilets.
The Chairman, Mr. Suleiman Adoyi thanked RUSHPIN and all their partners for assisting in raising the health status of the Benue people especially that of Agatu and pledged to do his bid to improve and sustain the status.
On his part, the Programme Manager United Purpose, Mr. Nanpet Chuktu, commended the activities of RUSHPIN in Benue state, stating that authorities in the state seemed quite proactive and supportive to the overall RUSHPIN programme with the potential by adhering to the new pathways for Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) implementation.
The highpoint of the event was presentation of certificates of commitment and meritorious service by United Purpose (UP) to the six ODF LGAs and the three scale-up LGAs in the area of Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in the state with a charge on them to increase interaction and sensitization of the LGA leadership, improve support on evaluation, targeted advocacy activities in learning and sharing of best practices, and success approaches.
Participants at the event were Council Chairmen, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Benue State Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (BERWASSA), WASH Media Network Benue State, United Purpose (UP) among other resource partners.