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Walking down the street of Abeokuta under a scorching sun in February, a crowd standing hopelessly comprises nursing mothers, young ladies, and guys looking unkempt were seen with empty kegs and buckets waiting for their turn to scoop water from a burst pipe along Ago-Oba area of Abeokuta in Ogun state. The agony faced by the residents was obvious as some exchange abusive words with one another for either being sluggish or lack of patience as precious hours are spent queuing to get water. HABEEBAT AJAYI went round Abeokuta to capture this experience of the people in the state capital alone .
Residents of Ago Oba reportedly wake up as early as 4 am or stay as late as 11 pm to fetch water into their respective distant homes. Ago-Oba scene depicts the recurrent water scarcity in major areas of the Abeokuta metropolis. Among the areas affected in the state capital were Ita-Eko, Surulere, Oke Ata, Oke Yeke, Omida Ibara, Kolobo, Amolaso, Isale Igbein, Leme, Sapon and Isabo among others.
In a discussion with one of the residents identified as Rasheedat Adeoye, she lamented that they go through hell to get water as there was no adequate water supply in the area.
She said, “the biting effect of the current water scarcity in Abeokuta and its environs can not be over-emphasized. We have resorted to unhygienic measures, sourcing water from canals, which is very dangerous and hazardous to our health.
“In most times, it is difficult for Us to get our kids to school early or get ourselves to work early as several hours are spent in the queue while waiting to fetch water from the very few available boreholes”.
Residents speak on experiences over scarcity of water
Also, when this reporter got to Oke-Yeke, a resident identified as Temitope Oyebola lamented that the challenges in getting water are becoming unbearable.
Oyebola complained that it has not been an easy task running helter-skelter for ends means at the same time going through extra ordinary efforts to source for water.
Another resident who is a trader simply identified as Iya Ibeji said, “the environmental agents used to disturb us here because we don’t wash gutter, and floor, they use to shut our various houses because there is no water to do many of these “.
The residents also noted that several appeals have been made to the government, but they keep coming up with excuses that maintenance is being carried out on some major facilities of the Ogun state water corporation.
As Water is the main constituent of Earth’s hydrosphere and the fluids of all known living organisms which is vital to all known forms of life, even though it provides no calories or organic nutrients, despite the benefit of water to human existence, 200 million Nigerians do not have access to safe water as at 2017 WHO report fund
Research shows that only 19% of Nigeria’s population has access to safe drinking water. … Nigeria suffers from “economic water scarcity” – the inability to properly manage, use and protect water resources for socio-economic development and environmental sustainability.
Research has shown that More than 70,000 under five children die every year in Nigeria from diarrhea and between 128,000 and 161,000 people globally die for Typhoid every year.
Poor hygiene and need to prevent cholera outbreak
The scarcity of water in Nigeria is taking a new dimension as residents of many urban and semi-urban areas do not have access to a readily available source of domestic water.
Groundwater which is the most popular source of potable water is facing serious challenges in many areas of the country because it is not properly harnessed and managed.
It was however gathered that ,getting water from unsanitary conditions, smelly and dirty collection of water, gutters and algae infected areas which could lead to health crises Which includes Typhoid, Cholera, Giardia, e-coil, dysentery, hepatitis A and Salmonella amongst other water-related diseases.
Water which is used to drink, bathe, wash, and other critical washing, so when you don’t have that there is a problem because people will go and source for water where they suppose not to source it they would go to a place where is not hygienically balanced and fit.
Further findings showed that some residents do go to streams to source water and the streams can be where people engage in open defecation as a result of that and water will be contaminated and that may cause communicable diseases.
The reporter observed that there could be a situation whereby people will not have enough water to flush their feaces either for pit latering or water closet that would also cause some infection within where that water closet or pit latering is located, When there is inadequate water supply all those related diseases will be spreading around.
Our reporter gathered that the current situation could be a resemblance of what happened in 1972 in Abeokuta (mid-Western) when there was no water in the state, hence people started talking about water from different sources that led to an outbreak of cholera.
The state of Arakanga Dam rehabilitation in Ogun state
Ogun state is facing significant water challenges and in turn, conflicts over water resources is making governance more difficult.
Speaking with the Special Adviser, Special Duties (Water), Engr. Kunle Otun claimed that the water rehabilitation embarked by the state government is about 70 to 75% completion across the state.
In his words” We are at 70 to 75% completion of the Our dam rehabilitation, the dam is the primary source of raw water in the state so the dam has been shut down for proper rehabilitation.
“We are on the fourth stage as we speak I can tell you that We have done first, second, third , we are in the fourth stage out of the five-stage we source water from the dam.
“This initiative is right in Abeokuta and that is why there is a serious issue of water scarcity because of the dam rehabilitation that is ongoing. Equivalent has been shut down.
“In term of Yewa north axis Ilaro Ayetoro side we just completed the transformer issue that we had at the Ifo Akintedo district plant at Papa lantoro
“We have completed the papa Lantoro that supply water for Ifo axis and Ilaro axis, what we are doing now is the activities that have been left for a very long time and there have been so much damages done on the water infrastructure which we are trying to correct
“During the course of urban renewal of the last Administration there are lot of pipe network that have been damaged without replacement all those pipes, we are putting them back for us to be able to bring water back before that, we need to ensure we had enough volume of water to keep which is the reason we shut it down.
“Our people should be a little bit more patient as from July to August we are going to bring back the water to the people and if this water comes I want to admonish our people pay the quarter rate so that we will be able to provide for the operation and production of water in the state.