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SPECIAL REPORT: Ogun Spends N26.8bn On Water Supply in Four Years Amidst Ravaging Cholera Outbreak 

…Abiodun Receives Kudos Over Improved Service In Abeokuta

…Expert Warns Against Indiscriminate Borehole Drilling

In an exclusive investigation, PLATFORM TIMES delves into the staggering expenditure of N26,8billion  by the Ogun State government between 2020 and 2023 to enhance water supply for residents. 

Despite this substantial investment, nearly 90% of the state’s population still lacks access to pipe-borne water, revealing critical challenges in water distribution. DAUD OLATUNJI captures the mood.

 

Between 2020 and 2023, a staggering sum of N26,821,150,711.1591 was allocated for water supply, salary of the workers, capital expemditures and others logistics, showcasing the administration’s determination to address water accessibility issues.

PLATFORM TIMES observed that Governor Dapo Abiodun’s administration inherited challenges in water supply from the previous government, but our findings indicate several strategic initiatives to overcome these obstacles  put in place have not been totally fruitful

Detailed scrutiny of financial records on the openstates.ng portal revealed a yearly breakdown of expenditures.

 In 2020, N2,153,289,009.82 was allocated, with N1,880,480,903.64 for water corporation and N272,808,104.18 for rural water supply.

 The allocation peaked in 2021 at N11,092,964,470.12, addressing both water corporation and rural water supply.

In 2022, N7,762,915,905.31 was allocated, distributing funds among water corporations, water supply projects, rural water initiatives, and partnerships. In 2023, N6,726,343,613.74 was invested in water supply.

While the state government invested significantly in water supply, our investigation revealed a noteworthy revenue shortfall. 

PLATFORM TIMES’ findings shed light on the state’s revenue, indicating a meager sum of N363,594,877.38 generated between 2020 and 2023. 

This stark contrast raises questions about the sustainability of such high expenditures, especially when juxtaposed with the revenue generated during the same period.

The breakdown of the  revenue, amounting to N26,080,290.18 in 2020, N100,000,000 in 2021, N114,427,454.38 in 2022, and N123,087,132.82 in 2023, primarily earned from proceeds from commercialisation of water and other collections  related to water provision.

 

…Despite N26.8bn, Cholera Ravages State 

Data analysis done revealed that prior to the assumption of office by Abiodun, the state had been battling with Cholera Outbreak with attendant deaths .

Further findings showed that the outbreak  was as a result of lack of water which prompted the people to be consuming  unhygienic water 

The World Health Organization (WHO), affirmed that cholera, an acute intestinal infection, is spread through contaminated food and water, reappearing periodically, especially in countries that are unable to secure access to clean drinking water.

 Cholera infection is often mild or without symptoms, but can sometimes be severe.

Alarming Rise In Cholera Outbreak Cases, Deaths

In 2021, Ogun State faced a severe health crisis as cases of cholera outbreak surged, claiming the lives of 17 individuals.

PLATFORM TIMES’ investigation disclosed that the outbreak primarily affected motorcycle riders and scavengers in local government areas including Obafemi-Owode, Odeda, Abeokuta-North, and Ijebu-North.

The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Tomi Coker, confirmed the outbreak, tracing its origins to an individual returning to the state. She highlighted public toilets as the medium of transmission, emphasizing the urgency to address this public health concern.

PLATFORM TIMES’ detailed investigation found that a staggering 108 people contracted cholera, with 17 fatalities, resulting in a case fatality rate (CFR) of 15.7%.

 Notably, Ogun State recorded the second-highest CFR in Nigeria, following Kogi’s alarming 24.5% rate.

Comparatively, the national average CFR for cholera stood at 3.2%, significantly lower than Ogun State’s concerning 15.7%.

 The gravity of the situation became more evident when considering the 2023 cholera outbreak, where approximately 500 people were affected, leading to over 15 reported deaths.

PLATFORM TIMES highlighted factors contributing to the outbreaks, citing the lack of clean water and residents engaging in open defecation. 

The government acknowledged the issue, linking the 2023 outbreak to the Ijebu North Local Government Area, later spreading to Abeokuta North and Abeokuta South.

Coker,  expressed concern over the high fatality rate, attributing it to “high levels of open defecation, poor waste management, and inadequate water sources.”

 She revealed that the outbreak started in Ijebu North with 217 cases, later spreading to other areas.

Ogun State faces a critical juncture in its battle against cholera, with the government and health authorities intensifying efforts to address the root causes and implement preventive measures. 

PLATFORM TIMES observed that the rising fatality rates underscore the urgency for a comprehensive and sustained public health response to safeguard the well-being of the residents.

Ogun  Takes Swift Action To Combat Cholera Outbreak

In response to the escalating cholera outbreak plaguing various parts of the  State, the government has been taking which include  disinfecting the affected areas and stem the spread of the disease.

The government, through the Commissioner for Environment, Ola Oresanya, spearheaded the decontamination efforts, targeting critical locations such as the Ago-Afoju area in Sabo, Abeokuta, and Magboro in Obafemi Owode Local Government Area. The aim was to curb the spread of the bacteria causing severe diarrhea and dehydration.

Oresanya reassured the public that the decontamination process was a crucial step in mitigating the impact of the cholera outbreak.

Emphasizing the importance of adhering to environmental and hygienic standards, he disclosed that the government took strict actions against violators.

As part of these measures, the government ordered the immediate shutdown of a table and sachet water factory found in violation of the state’s environmental and hygienic laws. 

Additionally, the popular Iberekodo daily market in Abeokuta, the state capital, faced closure due to operating below public hygiene standards.

The proactive steps taken by the government in 2021,2022 and 2023 underscored its commitment to public health and safety. 

Looking ahead to 2024 it is expected that  these actions will serve as a foundation for ongoing efforts to combat and prevent further outbreaks of cholera in Ogun State.

  Progress , Challenges in  Water Modernization Efforts

 

Some residents who spoke on the state of water supply in Ogun state share their views and experiences. PLATFORM TIMES sought the views of  some residents on their experiences.

Residents in various parts of Ogun State have shared their experiences with the evolving water supply situation, shedding light on both progress and persisting challenges.

 An anonymous source revealed that Abiola Way down to Moore Junction and surrounding areas now enjoy pipe-borne water on prepaid meters, attributing it to a World Bank project in collaboration with the Ogun State Water Corporation.

Wale Edun, a resident of Abeokuta, mentioned the existence of a borehole at the OGTV Media Estate. Reflecting on his past, he recalled the hardships faced in Olomoore until his relocation last year, noting sporadic water access from the water corporation.

Another  resident who pleaded anonymity expressed gratitude for the 2003-2011 period during OGD’s reign, citing the last instance of enjoying pipe-borne water at the Ijebu axis.

Sanitarian Oluwatantimi discussed the challenges faced during road construction by former Governor Ibikunle Amosun  administration, leading to the destruction of pipes and subsequent water system issues. 

Josephine, another resident reported consistent pipe-borne water in Elega and its environs for over four months, though acknowledging a temporary halt.

In a positive light, activist Comrade Omobolaji Oluwafisayomi Sanni commended Governor  Abiodun for efforts in modernizing pipe-borne water in the State. 

Acknowledging the historical water scarcity in Abeokuta during dry seasons, Sanni emphasized the governor’s commitment to resolving water issues through modernization initiatives. 

Despite ongoing challenges, Sanni urged patience, assuring residents that the prepaid pipe-borne water system would eventually reach all areas in due time.

Also sharing his experience, Alhaji Ola Animashaun, a prominent public analyst and social commentator, highlighted significant developments surrounding a reservoir managed by the state government in Abiolaway, Abeokuta.

The project, a collaborative effort between the World Bank and the French government, witnessed expansion when the former Speaker of House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole and possibly Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello who represented Ogun central at the national Assembly some years ago.

He added that former Governor Amosun played a pivotal role in enlarging the tank, transforming it into concrete structures.

He said that this reservoir serves as a crucial collection point for water sourced from the Akomoje Water Corporation.

 The water is systematically channeled from Akomoje to the reservoir, constituting a vital aspect of a World Bank project implemented by Chinese authorities.

The project’s initial success was marked by a test run facilitated by the limited electricity acquired from the Chinese. 

However, following its successful delivery, the government exhibited a lack of urgency, leading to delays and a temporary stall in the project’s progress.

 

Expert Expresses Concerns Over Indiscriminate Borehole Drilling, Points Finger at Government

Jamiu Badmos, an Environmental Consultant and senior certified project manager,  raised serious concerns about the indiscriminate drilling of boreholes in Ogun State.

Badmos, who has been closely monitoring the situation, emphasizes that the issue extends beyond Ogun State, affecting regions across the country. 

He deems this widespread drilling an aberration, asserting that the government’s failure to meet public expectations has forced citizens to seek alternative solutions for a more comfortable life.

Highlighting the fundamental role of water in human existence, Badmos stresses that while other amenities like lights and clothing can be tinkered with, water remains indispensable. 

He underscores the divine significance of water, constituting more than 70 percent of the Earth, further emphasizing its critical importance.

Despite government expenditures on water-related initiatives, especially in Ogun State, Badmos contends that the allocated funds fall short of addressing the public’s water needs.

 He points out instances where government facilities, such as the water corporation in Abeokuta, lacked essential resources like a generator, pushing citizens to find alternative water sources due to the unavailability of a reliable public water supply.

Govt. Neglect, Unregulated Borehole Drilling Compound Water Woes In Ogun-Expert 

Speaking on the rampant drilling of boreholes, the expert said it  has led to a cascade of negative consequences, exacerbated by the absence of a regulatory body overseeing these activities.

 Badmos, an Environmental Consultant and senior certified project manager, sheds light on the repercussions of uncontrolled borehole drilling, particularly when undertaken without the involvement of experts.

The surge in drilling activities by individuals, including foreign entities like Indian and Chinese companies, without proper geophysical surveys, has become a cause for concern. 

Badmos emphasizes the importance of engaging hydrogeophysics or geologists to ensure accurate assessments of aquifer depth, crucial for successful borehole drilling. 

Unfortunately, a lack of regulation has turned everyone into a supposed water expert, contributing to the adverse impacts of these drilling practices.

Badmos underscores the evolution of drilling machinery, now more mechanical and causing significant reactions beneath the Earth’s surface, particularly in the basement areas of Ogun State, notably in Abeokuta.

He points out that approximately 85 percent of Abeokuta is basement, requiring robust machines for drilling. 

The challenges of overburden, where swell formations are less than 10 meters deep, necessitate blasting for borehole drilling. 

According to him, this unregulated drilling has become a common sound in the area, leading to environmental concerns.

Badmos expresses frustration with the government’s lack of interest in addressing water issues, suggesting alternatives such as dredging the Ogun River. 

He lamented that despite existing water storage at the Water Corporation in Araganga, government negligence prevails, hindering water accessibility.

He criticizes the unprofessional approach to borehole drilling by individuals claiming to be professionals merely due to financial capacity, overlooking certified expertise. 

He added that the  absence of proper regulations and oversight compounds the issues, leaving residents with no choice but to drill boreholes to secure water, further stressing the need for government intervention.

Badmos concludes by highlighting the mismanagement of water resources in the  State, blaming both the government’s failure to regulate and the lack of necessary facilities for sustainable borehole drilling. 

The frustration among residents is palpable, as they resort to drilling boreholes in the absence of a reliable public water supply.

 

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