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Kano’s wells of death

Water shortages in Kano have seen residents turning to wells for water, but a trip to a well has meant death for at least 15…

Water shortages in Kano have seen residents turning to wells for water, but a trip to a well has meant death for at least 15 people in the state in 2020 alone, Daily Trust reports.

For many years potable water has eluded many households and communities in Kano; a situation that has forced many to seek alternative means of getting water.

Daily Trust observed that few privileged people in the state have built boreholes as many others buy from water vendors just as majority of the inhabitants resort to constructing wells in their houses or get water from community wells. Several others go to ponds and streams to get water.

The wells which have for long sustained lives have also cost several lives as people fall into them and die.

Statistics obtained from the state’s fire service shows that in 2020 alone; precisely from January to November, the fire service received 44 distress calls that had to do with people falling into wells and ponds across the 44 local government areas of the state.

Of the calls, 23 persons were rescued while 15 were rescued unconscious and later confirmed dead by health personnel.

A hen and a cat were equally removed from wells during the period.

Four search operations were carried out but the casualties were not found.

The victims cut across all ages, but the analysis indicates that most of them were children sent to get water.

Major incidents

Some of the major incidents recorded were the death of an eight-year-old boy, Ahmed Isyaku, on February 24, at Kadabewa village in Garko LGA.

On May 13, two persons, Umar Garba (24) and Rabi’u Ya’u (21) were confirmed dead after falling inside a pond at Zainawa village in Gezawa LGA.

July 18 saw the death of 16-year-old Atiku Sani who got drowned in a pond at Bachirawa in Ungoggo LGA. Sani, along with other boys went to swim and to get water when he drowned.

On July 17, Anas Basiru’s body was found floating in a pond at Sauna in Nasarawa LGA.

An open well in Yadai village, Gabasawa LGA
An open well in Yadai village, Gabasawa LGA

On October 11, ten-year-old Binta Shehu lost her life at Yanka Tsari village in Dawakin Kudu LGA while fetching water.

A septuagenarian, Zuwaira Kabir, was however lucky when she was rescued from inside a well at Tudun Wuzurchi Quarters in Kano Municipal LGA. The 75-year-old woman fell inside the well at about 06:00am when she went to get water.

August 18 was a tragedy at Layin Baki of Shaiskawa community in Dambatta LGA as butcher, Abdulhamid Muhammad (55), died while trying to rescue his ailing sheep that fell into a well.

On December 1, one Safiyanu Mustapha (20) drowned in a pond at Gaida village in Kumbotso LGA.

The spokesman of the state fire service, Sa’id Muhammad, in most of his statements throughout the year announcing the deaths or rescue of victims of pond or well incidents, called on parents and guardians to always monitor their children and wards to cover up wells to avoid the children falling into them.

‘N4.3b budgeted for water in 2020’

The state government said it achieved a lot in 2020 from its budgeted N4.3b to provide potable water and to increase its access in both urban and rural areas.

Women and children fetching water in Gezawa LGA
Women and children fetching water in Gezawa LGA

Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje during the 2021 budget presentation to the House of Assembly listed some of his accomplishments in the provision of water: Completion of 10th EDF European Union intervention to Kano State through the Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Reform Programme Phase II (WSSSRP II) which included construction of 128 solar powered boreholes and 96 compartments of Ventilated Improved Pit (VIP) latrines in Takai and Madobi LGAs; continuation of procurement and installation of raw water high lift pumps at Tiga and a water treatment plant in Rano; construction of 138 hand pump boreholes under the Wash programme spread in four LGAs: Garun Malam,  Rimin Gado, Rano and Gabasawa.

Others, he said, included the continuation of the construction of boreholes at Ganduje in Dawakin Tofa LGA; continuation of the laying of a 1,000mm iron pipes from Tamburawa Eastern Bypass to Hadejia Road and rehabilitation of irrigation facilities.

According to him, access to potable water in both urban and rural areas significantly improved in 2020, and that more funds amounting to over N9bn had been allocated for various water schemes across the state in 2021.

Gov. Ganduje further told the house that, “We intend to construct a new water reservoir at Bompai Rock that will serve major parts of Nassarawa, Fagge and Municipal LGAs, while another one on Zaria Road (Tamburawa) will balance water supply from the Tamburawa WTP.

The Mariri reservoir will balance water supplied from New Wudil for distribution to major parts of the city, including neighbouring LGAs of Gezawa and Gabasawa.”

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