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Water scarcity hits FCT

By Hussein Yahaya, Adam Umar (Abuja) & Ahmad Datti (Kano)   Water shortage has hit many parts of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), forcing residents…

By Hussein Yahaya, Adam Umar (Abuja) & Ahmad Datti (Kano)

 

Water shortage has hit many parts of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), forcing residents to seek water through any available means.

Our correspondents report that the situation was compounded by the strike action embarked upon by the sachet water producers since penultimate Monday as water pressure from the treatment plant at the Lower Usuma Dam was low.

Many households, especially in satellite towns like Gwagwalada, Bwari, Dutse, Kwali and Kuje have turned to streams as sources of water.

In semi urban areas like Lugbe, Kubwa and Galadimawa, residents have been struggling to access even sachet water as the producers refused to work since last week.

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Mr Joseph Aina, a Kubwa resident, told Daily Trust that when the sachet water producers resumed work yesterday, they jacked up the price of a bag from N200 to N500 and the retailers sold a sachet at N50.

One Mrs Cyinthia Akata said that in her estate in Gwarinpa sachet water producers had been on strike since last week.

She said her family now resorted to well water since last Friday and pleaded with the FCT Administration to wade into the crisis.

She said, “Honestly, I don’t understand this administration; we started with hunger and now gradually they are taking it to water, which of course they know is life. We can’t just continue like this as a nation.’’

Speaking on the development, a member of the sachet water producers association from the Jabi area in Abuja, Jamilu Saidu, said the strike was embarked upon penultimate Monday and lasted to last Monday.

He said the increment became necessary considering the cost of production that kept skyrocketing, leaving the producers with little margin of profit or even losses in some cases.

He said a tonne of nylon used in the production had risen to N3m from the previous rate of N700,000 just about a year ago.

Other challenges, according to him, is the rise in the prices of petrol, diesel, as well as engine oil. He also cited an increase in government taxes from various agencies like the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

Also speaking, Dauda Umar, a producer from Dutsen-Alhaji area in Bwari Area Council in the FCT, said they used the one-week break for three days capacity building from two agencies of NAFDAC and Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), where members were enlightened on hygienic and standard compliance.

He said during the week’s interval, the price of 1kg of production nylon jumped up from N2,200 to N3,500.

He further said the union had now agreed to raise the amount of a bag of sachet water from N150 to N400 for distributors who used to buy the product in bulk from the producers.

Reacting, the acting General Manager of the FCT Water Board, Daniel Salka, admitted that there had been some service areas without water and some with low pressure.

The GM, who spoke with our correspondent on phone on Monday, said he was leading a team of engineers to the board’s water treatment plant at the Lower Usuma Dam to trace the cause of the problem.

Mr Salka assured that many areas would have access to potable water from the board when the ongoing Greater Abuja Waterworks was completed.

Kano water vendors raise price

Meanwhile, water vendors in Kano State yesterday commenced a two-day warning strike to protest persistent harassment by revenue collectors in some parts of the state.

The vendors operate in areas like Rimin Kebe, Kwana Hudu, Gama and Bridgate Quarters, all in Nasarawa LGA.

The vendors said they paid as high as N500 as daily tax to the local government revenue collectors while coming from Gayawa or Jaba in Ungogo LGA from where they supplied water to other locations.

Mustapha Ghali, a water vendor, said they took the decision to go on strike because of the humiliation their members suffered in the hands of revenue officers in the affected areas.

Another water vendor Shehu Usman said the revenue collectors assumed that they were making a lot of money not knowing that they were making payment to fetch the water elsewhere.

He explained that the warning strike was to draw attention of the government to the situation.

However, Abubakar Garba, a resident of Kwana Hudu, said the vendors called off the strike and thereafter increased their price to N80 from N70 per 25 litres.

He said, “We did not see water to buy on Saturday. But this morning (Monday), we started seeing some of them. But they have increased it by N10 on each 25-litre jerry can.”

Daily Trust reports that until recently residents of the eight metropolitan LGAs: Dala, Fagge, Gwale, Kano Municipal, Kumbotso, Tarauni, Nassarawa and Ungogo, had been battling water scarcity.

Meanwhile, the state’s water board has partially restored supply to some areas in Gwale, Tarauni and parts of Kano Municipal LGAs.

 

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