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Karu residents turn to vendors, streams as water scarcity bites harder

Water scarcity in any other part of Nigeria may not raise eyebrows, but for Karu, a suburb under the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) of…

Water scarcity in any other part of Nigeria may not raise eyebrows, but for Karu, a suburb under the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), it is an issue that will continue to be a source of agony for residents. This is because Karu is just a few kilometers away from the city centre.

Residents of the area have gone about their lives without water from the government, a development that is forcing many residents connected to water pipes from water board to resort to other options.

Findings revealed that Karu residents are bearing the financial brunt of water scarcity.

A resident simply identified as Biodun, and his neighbours, described the area as a glorified suburb neglected by the federal government, with persistent water scarcity showing no end in sight.

Biodun, a 49-year-old entrepreneur, said he and his neighbours had been without potable water since the FCT Water Board stopped the supply of pipe-borne water to the area in September 2023.

According to the residents, the last water supplied to the area was muddy, sticky; and therefore, not good for anything.

Explaining how the water scarcity issue started, Biodun said, “Our water board here was rationing water supply. At times we got water once in two weeks, after which we had to start looking for water vendors.

“The story, however, changed in September. We didn’t have water for weeks, and eventually, at the end of September, water that was very muddy and sticky was released. It was not good for anything.

“We thought the water would be neat with time, but we were wrong. We observed that the road was flooded with water from the water board.  Obviously, the pipe had burst and the water mixed with the gutter entered people’s tanks.

“Everyone’s tank became dirty because of the muddy water. We all washed the tanks in anticipation that water would come, but up till this moment, there has been no sign. Most children now go in search of water daily after school. It does not make sense.”

Other residents who spoke with Daily Trust Saturday said the country’s economic crunch was enough challenge for the people.

 “I buy fuel at a high price to power my generator for home and my business. Everything is expensive. And now, I have to depend on water vendors who sell 12 units of 20-litre jerry cans (a truck) between N1,000 and N1,500. It was N400 before. What kind of country is this?

“When some of us went to the water board office here, they told us that the problem was at AYA. We were told that because of the connection there, something had happened, which would require a huge amount of money to fix.

“The situation is disheartening, especially for those who don’t have boreholes or p wells in their compound,” Fatima Abdulsalam said.

Others also corroborated Abdulsalam’s claim on how they had been coping as a result of the non availability of potable water.

Another resident, John Ishaku, an engineer, said residents, including him, would load their vehicles with empty jerry-cans everywhere they go as a result of the water scarcity.

“Daily, I drive with at least five jerry-cans in my car in case I find water anywhere. I buy not less than five jerry-cans of water daily for the use of my family. Anywhere I drive to, I am always looking out for water.

“That is the only way the amount of money I spend on water every day will not break my back. I appeal for urgent intervention from the FCT Water Board,” Ishaku said.

A school proprietress, Joy Anyanwu, while lamenting the situation, said she had been depending on water vendors. She said, “This is really taking a toll on me because every two days, I buy a truck of water from them.  With the current economic hardship, it is not funny at all.”

Anyanwu said, “The government should please come to our aid before we have an outbreak of diseases as a result of lack of good water.”

The secretary of Karu Sakaruyi Palace, Samson D. Shanyibwa, told our correspondent that the palace had a meeting two weeks ago with Bitrus Lawrence Garki, the mandate secretary, Area Council Services Secretariat (ACSS), FCT Administration.

“During the meeting, we were assured that the matter would be resolved soon, but till date, we have not seen any positive sign.

“I know that everything takes a process, so we are anticipating that it would be fixed any moment.

“Based on what I learnt, the water got damaged somewhere close to the water board office, and since then, residents have been suffering. Water vendors have been taking advantage of the situation.

“A truck that was sold not more than N400 has skyrocketed to N1,500. If you ask why, they will say they buy from people who have boreholes, and borehole owners complain about the price of fuel to power their generators,” he said.

On February 5, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that the scarcity of water was due to a damaged pipeline in Usuma Dam, Bwari Area Council of the FCT.

In a bid to confirm if the situation had got government attention, DailyTrust Saturday checked the 2024 budget for allocations for Karu or Usuma Dam. It was, however, discovered that none of the budget lines dedicated to the area addressed the issue.

 

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