Friday, December 7, 2012

In Jalingo: safe water is scarce like petrol, and expensive as gold

"Water, they say is life", and according to science, the human body constitute of 70% of this liquid substance, as such water tops the priority list of the demand of mankind.  The World Health Organization (WHO)  said 80% of diseases plaguing humanity are due to use or consumption of unsafe water.

"Over 1 billion people globally lack access to safe drinking-water supplies, while 2.6 billion lack adequate sanitation; diseases related to unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene result in an estimated 1.7 million deaths every year," WHO report says.

It is generally believed that the accessibility of sufficient quantities of  portable water and safe sanitation facilities to a household determines the quality of life of the people and potential for poverty alleviation. This leads to the welfare improvement and is generally linked to a decrease in infant and maternal mortality, increase nutritional values and environmental hygiene.

In Jalingo, accessing portable water by residents remains a major battle forcing residents of the city to rely on local vendor popularly id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5819394726337101682" />

called Mai ruwa and few streams for water, while public water supply remained exclusive for the rich in the state.

Wurom Musa, is a one of the slum communities in Jalingo, and is inhabited mainly by farmers and traders. Here the only source of water for domestic consumption is a local stream about 7 killometers  away. away. What would have served as a safer source of water supply- a two  hand-pump boreholes donated to the community 5 years ago,  had collapsed

In another slum community, Barade ward, there are tales of woes and anguish  whenever the Lamorde River, the only source of water in the area,  dries up, typically  during dry season. When this occurs, residents of the  community are left with no other option than to buy from 'Mai Ruwa' water vendors, whose source of water is unknown.

In another community, Agangagwasa, a resident, ,  Julian Bala narrated that getting water for domestic use is a major challenge.

"because here is a new area with plenty people, water is our problem, when the wells in the area  are dried up, it's a difficult  to get water because, we trek long distance searching for water as if you are looking for petrol, its saddening because water board is not here"

Another resident, Mrs. Franca Osita told me that  she starts her day by searching for water, "I  have to wake up early and walk to   the stream to get water, or else buy from the water vendors and then prepare the children for school before resuming business, this is usually difficult for me"

She called on the government to show more concern to the untold suffering water scarcity has brought upon the people, by making provision for more boreholes and making sure that the taps are running again.

The Ward head of Mayo-Gwoi Village, in peri urban Jalingo, Mr. Aliyu Jassa, said the lack of access to portable water in the city is harming their health.

" Due to lack of water from the taps, some of us depend largely on  Mai ruwa, and those who cannot afford to buy, have to depend on the river. Unfortunately we've had cases of cholera that have resulted to the loss of lives, especially pregnant women and children, I almost lost my children too, but thank God for quick intervention"

Hamman Yakubu a retired bank official, on his part lamented the hike in price of water by local vendors.  "Me and my family consume not less than three trucks a day at N200 per a truck of ten jerry-cans each, but we are at the mercy of the water vendors, who sometimes hike the price of the water at will," adding that  it's  too expensive for an average citizen in the state who earns less than N18, 000 per month, considering  other family expenses like sending the children to school.

Mr. Yakubu also noted that though there are pipes laid down for distribution to homes, but too expensive to embark upon, as it will cost N60,000 for the installation per home; adding  that the pipes have rusted due to non-usage resulting to  health hazard for the few consumers.

Other residents across the city bemoan the recurrent shortage of water and overdependence for water supply on Mai ruwa whom sources of water is not known to the consumer.

Chairman of Taraba state water vendors, Mr. Muhamadu Ahmed said "there are over 20,000 members of the association scattered in various location of Jalingo"

Danlami Musa a water vendor said, he  sells as much as fifteen trucks a day and due to the high demand of the product he often have to go in search of water from the stream, stating that sometimes the water from the borehole is not sufficient to go round.

Secretary of the Association of water vendors in Jalingo, Mr. Iliya Jacob who had been in the business for more than 14 years said his service is an alternative to government.

" I have been providing water for this entire area for 13 years, people troop in from distances to come here for water, sometimes we have to give them for free, as a humanitarian service, we see the untold hardship on our people, we regard our services as an alternative to the government, because most people cannot afford to buy trucks of water per day, there is no other option for getting portable water"  he added.

He identify causes of water scarcity in city as "dryness of well and stream majorly during dry season and well water  changing color during raining seasons, and sometimes due to the activity of the pumping machine, it drains water from the ground which often cause some temporal water shortage from the ground, and leads to dry wells."

The Area Manager of Taraba Water Supply Board, Jalingo district,  Mr. Bitrus Rimanshon  admitted to ravaging  water shortage in the city:

"the product don't seems to be available, however the government is doing its best to meet up with the challenges." The Government is doing its best, the Taraba water supply board is operational on a daily basis, but coverage is not much, due to the growing population of the city, the coverage area is presently at 32%,"

Some of the challenges facing the State Water Board according to investigation includes obsolete machines that needs renovation and replacements,  inadequate funding , deficiency in human resource development, and manpower that has reduced from 600 to 324 since the creation of the state.

Other challenges according to Mr. Rimanshon  , is the need to upgrade the facilities  for water distribution, stating that  only six out of the fourteen boreholes  in the Board are functional. Calling on the  the government to subsidize water supply, in the state  rather than putting  more money  in providing drugs, Mr Rimanshon  said the proper funding of the Board and efficient supply of safe water will help prevent diseases.

A government official who does not want his name in print confirmed that that the State Government recently  accessed a loan from the African Development Bank, to enable it upgrade the water supply  coverage in the state from 32% to 75% .

The story is contributed by Ayodele Samuel, and published under the pro poor WASH stories project implemented by the Water and Sanitation Media Network Nigeria, with the support of West Africa WASH Media Network, WaterAid, and Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council.

EXCLUSIVE : Bakare parts way with Buhari, CPC

Ayodele Samuel, Lagos Strong indication emerged yesterday that Congress for Progress Change (CPC), Vice Presidential candidate Pastor Tunde Bakare has parted ways with his presidential candidate General Muhammud Buhari and his party CPC . This followed the ongoing merger process with the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and other opposition parties ahead of 2015 election which Bakare was said to be staunchly against. Peoples Daily exclusively gathered that Bakare had before now made his stand known to Buhari that he cannot work with the Tinubu controlled ACN, insisting that the CPC should reorganize itself and go into the next election. A close source to Bakare said since the issue of merger with ACN was not supported by tBakare, his relationship with Buhari caucus led by Buba Galadima , Sule Haman and the party leadership had gone sour . “very highly placed CPC members had been worried about refusal of Pastor Bakare to fall in line with the ongoing merger process which they believe is the only way of kicking PDP government out in the next general election and they are showing him the way out” The source quoted Bakare saying has never been a member of the CPC but was only invited as a running mate in the last election and would not bow to former Lagos state Governor Bola Tinubu for political powers. The source said “he (Bakare) was begged to accept to contest the 2011 election with Buhari, he has never for once been a member, he’s the only running mate that stood behind Buhari after election, during tribunal and after tribunal, but the agreement is over, the coming together was for the purpose of election, which he played his part loyally to the party, Buhari and his conscience. Now he has decided to chart a new course in the country , he now faces his Save Nigeria Group” Peoples Daily gathered that efforts were made by former FCT Minister Mallam Nasir El-Rufia to persuade Bakare not to dump the party but proved abortive. The source said one of such was a closed door meeting between El-Rufia and Bakare last week Sunday in Lagos. Another source in the Party however revealed that Bakare had taken the decision after he had counselled the Ondo State chapter of the CPC not to file any candidate in the state gubernatorial election last October. “he wanted the party in the state to support Governor Mimiko in the October election but the party filed his candidate, when our National Leader (Buhari) was in Ondo to campaign for the candidates, Bakare was not there, he insisted that we should work for Mimiko which he later declared his support for openly.” Efforts to speak to Bakare proved abortive as his media contact said, “the issue is not ripe to be commented on”

Karim: where 5 people die of water diseases weekly

Ayodele Samuel +2348074420617, In Karim, 5-10 persons are estimated to be daily diagnosed of water related diseases, while 2- 5 people die weekly of same diseases, Ayodele Samuel Ayokunle, Journalist and blogger at writes.......... My encounter on the road to Karim Village wasn’t a palatable experience for me, the Village had just been ravaged by the deadly flood that swept across the country, bad roads, fear of transportation on water coupled with visible angry flooded villagers. At last I landed in ‘Snake Island’. Karim Village, headquarters of Karim- Lamido Local Government in Taraba state, North East Nigeria. it takes about seven hours by road from Jalingo the state capital, due to bad roads and the vastness of the land, but I took less than 3hours taking waterways using local boat from River Lau, to River Benue to Jen and motorcycle to Karim town. Thou the people of karim Lamido are still battling the effects of flood that ravaged the rustic community, Typhoid and other water related diseases remains another nightmare. Karim village known among visitors mostly Corps Members (a Nigeria government youth scheme for fresh graduates) as Snake Inland due to heavy presence of reptiles. The town is surrounded by water and thick grasses, which makes snakes a common sight , about four different tribes (Karim jo , Jenjo, Bachama, Bambur) made up of the undeveloped Agrarian land with people majorly dealing in rice farming and fishing as source of livelihood. Faced with lack of safe water despite surrounded by River Benue and Lau River, lack of toilets, the people of Karim despite their many problems, has its own uniqueness of peace and harmony among its more than 195,844(2006 census) Christians and Muslims who co-exist peacefully. Water related disease affects the young and the old in Karim because of their nomadic nature, they tend to move from place to place in search of greener pastures for their immediate family, leaving behind available water source .
Major sources of water include rivers, ponds, and open wells which the inhabitants use for their domestic activities and every other water related activity. Available boreholes are: a private owned borehole operated by RABI waters,that sells water especially to water vendors(mai-ruwa) and one at the emirs palace are the only source of water to the people Most Government sunk boreholes and the recently sunk ones under the Millennium Development Goals MDGs are no longer functioning due to what residents describe as “poor execution of the projects.” A resident , Alhaji Abdullahi Umar said that sources of portable water were all blocked and most government boreholes are all dried, “we find it very difficult to have clean water for consumption and domestic use because most government water has dried up, so we drink from the ponds ” However little or no assistance is available on the issue of healthcare, the community is armed with an unequipped primary health care center to abate the water crisis facing the community. According to, the Principal Community Health Officer(PCHO) of only Primary Health Centre, Karim Dr. Isa Nayin , typhoid and other gastro intestinal diseases like dysentery and diarrhea are prevalent in the locality. He said that these diseases is commonly reported from remote areas which includes Karim- Mondi, Ruwan Fulani, Kwanchi and Mutum Daya, the villages about two hours motorcycle ride from the center. Sighting the disease of the F's (Faeces-Flies-Food-Finger) as the major vector of the disease, Dr Isa stressed that these diseases occur because there is no reliable source of water within the locality. He estimated that 5-10 persons are daily diagnosis of water related cases in the hospital, while 2-5 died weekly of same illness, “ because the people still believe in traditional medicine so they usually don't like visiting the hospital because of the cost and distance.” Another problem facing the community is ‘Color change in water’ mostly especially in the rural areas where different activities take place within the village ponds or rivers, pigs are allowed to go play in drinking ponds thereby causing a dramatic change in the color of water changing to red. While a health worker Bumanda Andrew express fear considering the increasing casualties of water related diseases appealed to both local and state Government authorities to come to the aid of the community residents. “Government need to compliment efforts of United Nations in providing social amenities to the less privileged, people here needs help on water and many other social problems”
Commenting on the water problem, Government official, the vice- chairman of Karim Lamido Local Government, Alhaji Ahmad Umar Karim admitted that Government is aware of the peoples plights but assures that efforts are made to reduce their hardship. “The government has done their best in terms of provision of portable water, citing example of a tap water pipe which were laid by the present Government across the local Government headquarters but which were suddenly vandalized by hoodlums without anybody reporting to the relevant authorities.” He said the people should complement Government efforts by protecting Government properties sited in their domain The people of Karim are still hopeless on safe water, basic healthcare among other social amenities, where will respite come their way?