NIGERIA: Niger State: With the dry season approaching, the people of Minna Metropolis in the Niger State continue to face the scarcity of potable drinking water. Nigeria, the eighth-most populous country in the world, has begun grappling with issues of water scarcity across a number of its states.
The local residents of Minna said that the state water board which used to supply them with water two to three times a week has stopped the supply. Due to this, the residents are facing various issues. Poor access to improved water and sanitation in Nigeria remains a major contributing factor to high morbidity and mortality rates among young children especially those who are under five.
The plight of the local residents
Abdulkadir Jimada, a resident of the Pkakungu area said, “The water scarcity has affected me and my family. My mother and siblings suffer because of water scarcity on a daily basis.”
Another resident of Tayi village, Roseline Mathew said that she and her family are seriously suffering as there is no provision for tap water. “They only have boreholes which only work wherever there is a power supply,” she added.
Ikena Ikechuku from the Gbaganu area narrated a similar experience and emphasized the effect of water scarcity in daily chores.
Ikechuku added that the scarcity of water is all over the state capital. But, she believes that her area is suffering the most. The rate of buying water from vendors has seen a drastic rise. Previously, the rate was around 200 Nairas ($0.49) and now it has increased to 500-700 ($1.21-1.70) Nairas.
A businessman, Timothy Adewale a resident of Keteren Gwari lamented how the water scarcity has affected his business.
“As a painter, I require a lot of water for my business. Now, the scarcity of water has affected my business.”
Ramatu Salnanshop, a resident of Mandela road, said her area has not got any water supply for the past 4 months.
Another resident, Ozigis Ismai said that they have been surviving on boreholes as the only source of their water supply for the past 10 years.
Mohammad Bala Idris, a resident of old custom barrack road, said, “Previously we used to get water supply on Sundays and Wednesdays but now for the past 2 months there is no sign of water.”
Rising water prices in Nigeria
However as the water scarcity continues to loom harder, it has also affected sales of sachet water in the state capital. A bag of sachet water which was sold for 80-100 Nairas is now sold for 150-200 Nairas.
Meanwhile, the producers of sachet water have blamed the government for the lack of a proper water supply.
“We have no option than to hike the price as we find it difficult to get from the state water board,” they said.
Managing Director of Niger state sewage cooperation, Engineer Hassan M. Chado attributed the lack of regular water supply in the state to improper funding from the state government. He added that the cooperation doesn’t have the required funds to purchase water chemicals.
Chado added that for over 20 years there has been no employment of new staff to the ministry.