Imminent epidemic looms as water scarcity hits Abuja suburb

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From: Kazeem Biriowo, Abuja

A community in proximity to the official resident of the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT),  Mohammed Bello is currently troubled with access to drinkable water. For almost two weeks, it has been shut out of water supply from the FCT Water Board.

Sadly, there is no green light as to when respite will come to Dape Community.

Residents now have two options, either to drink from the nearby polluted stream or patronise water vendors who pushes their car about 3km in supply of the rare resources. Incidentally, the price has shot-up from N20 to N100 within the short space.

Another resident disclosed that a cart of 8 gallons of water is now sold at the rate of N1,000 as against N350 to N400 before the water scarcity. Sadly, it may keep increasing if the public water system is not restored soon.

AgroNature Nigeria recently reported how the neighbourhood grappled with poor sanitation aside environmental challenges.

“Since the incident we have relied on the nearby stream for sanitation and domestic use,” says Mr Matthias Andrew, one of the residents.

“My family like every other ones are feeling the severe impact of water scarcity.”

Situated in Life Camp District, Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) of the territory, daily, many residents in the community, especially women and children resolved to the polluted stream for clothes washing and even bath taking, as such raising vulnerability to water borne diseases in the community.

Residents resort to the stream for daily water need                               Photo Credit: AgroNature Nigeria

During a visit to the community, AgroNature Nigeria found out that for instance, 25 litre gallon of water which normally costs a token of N20 from water vendors has risen to N100. Vendors said they have to push their water loaded carts 2 to 3km plying hilly road to other nearby communities to source water for sale to residents.

Another vendor, identified as Nojeem attributed the water scarcity to faulty water-pipe supply which Dape is connected. However, he said the FCT water board is working tirelessly to fix the situation.

Some residents, especially women and school age children, who could not afford the supply from water cart vendors were seen trekking over 3km away from the community, sourcing for water in different containers. They place the containers on their head every morning as the trend persist.

Incidentally, school children were worst hit by the scourge. Management of the LEA Primary School, Dape claimed it has been recording high lateness and poor school attendance.

Water scarcity berths open defecation

Endless search for drinkable water due to damaged pipe from the FCT Water Board
Photo Credit: AgroNature Nigeria

In a sudden twist, the menace of poor environment and open defecation has also risen. This was as a result of the shutdown of all public toilets popularly known as ‘Gida Wanka’ in the community. Currently, other residents are defecating in drainages and open fields surrounding the areas.

The public toilets owners also laments over their source of livelihood being threatened. To them, there is no other source of income to fall back on as the water scarcity persists.

Speaking in Hausa dialect, Aminu Musa, one of the public toilet operators urged whoever in charge to restore the water supply to save their businesses and reduce open defecation.

However, when AgroNature Nigeria reached out to the FCT Water Board, Jabi, Mr John Tuta, Assistant Area Manager, attributed the problem to a damaged 300mm (12inches) pipe caused by erosion.

Tuta further said the damages has gotten the attention of the FCT Administration, adding that it has been awarded to the contractor who is expected carry out the repair any time soon

“It is not humanly possible to carry out the repair because the excavator has to come and remove the pipe from the ground for repair and right now it is been handled by our General Manager and the Minister of FCT”.

Tuta however dismissed the rumour going round that water scarcity in Dape is due to non-payment of water bill as at when due by the residents.

“Even if they are not paying, we cannot starve everybody except if a compound, estate owes in bulk and refuses to pay, we can then disconnect them generally.”

It is expected that the FCT authority in no time would proffer a quick solution as promised to satisfy water need of the locals.

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