About 3,000 communities in Katsina State have been certified Open Defecation Free (ODF) by UNICEF, following success recorded by the Sanitation, Hygiene and Water in Nigeria project (SHAWN). The Executive Director, Katsina State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA), Alhaji Aminu Dayyabu, disclosed this on Monday in Katsina while briefing newsmen on the activities of the agency. He said that the communities were from 26 local government areas of the state that are participating in the programme. “Though there is no local government area certified as ODF in the state yet, Katsina State has 80 per cent grade on Safely Managed Sanitation, which is the highest in Nigeria. “Out of the 774 local government areas in Nigeria, only 10 were certified as ODF and Katsina state has the highest number of ODF certified communities in the country with about 3,000 communities certified as ODF. “We hope by December 2019, we will have at least one local government area to be declared as ODF,” he said. The executive director revealed that the agency had developed a road map on how to end open defecation in the state by 2025. Dayyabu further disclosed that the state government would declare a state of emergency on the sanitation sector by Nov. 11, 2019, with the aim of attaining the set target. He noted that the agency had provided water and sanitation facilities in about 400 primary schools and healthcare centres in the state to enhance personal hygiene and environmental sanitation. Dayyabu also said that he was part of the Federal Government delegation that went to India to understand how India intensified efforts toward attaining open defecation free. “India is the first country with the highest number of people practising open defecation, with Nigeria as the second. “They have moved about 500 million people out of Open Defecation (OD), India is going to declare itself ODF on Nov. 17, 2019. “So, we don’t want Nigeria to be number one on Open Defecation in the world,” he said. He, therefore, urged the media to intensify efforts toward enlightening the public on the dangers associated with the ugly practice.