NEPTUNE FEATURE: Lokoja residents face risk of disease outbreak as water scarcity bites harder
Story from Rabi’atu, Lokoja
There are palpable fears that there may be a cholera outbreak in Lokoja the Kogi State capital as residents have to source water from untreated channels due to the scarcity of water.
The scarcity, according to residents, may be connected to the alleged downward review of the monthly allocation from a hundred million naira to thirty million naira since the inception of the present administration.
The review allegedly forced the Chinese managers, who built the Lokoja Greater Water Works to relocate from the state, which has consistently become the albatross of the residents who need water for their daily chores.
Neptune Prime learnt that since the civil servants took over the management of the waterworks, the chemicals needed for the treatment of the water, such as calcium hydro chlorine, polyelectrolyte and aluminium sulphate have been out of rich of the management.
The scarcity has however forced residents to patronise water vendors popularly known as mai ruwa.
The quantity of water that was sold at 400 Naira is now being sold for 1,200 Naira or 1500 naira depending on the location.
Women, girls and boys are seen everywhere with jerry cans and buckets looking for water from one borehole to another.
Our correspondent who spoke to some residents of Lokoja about the situation on Sunday was informed by a resident, identified as Mr Ismail, that for the past five years, he has not had water in his residence at the Angwan Kura area of the town, adding that they have resorted to buying water from the local water vendors.
“For the past five years, there hasn’t been water in my area. What we do is that we buy water from the mai ruwa guys and we do not even have hope that there will be water,” Ismail lamented.
Another resident, Ibrahim Sulaiman, who lives in Karaworo said the scarcity in the area has lasted for three weeks saying that as much as the supply was epileptic, they were lucky to get supplied.
He said, “In my area, we usually get water every Sunday and it runs for a few hours before they take it. So what we do is that we will fetch water, fill up our containers and manage it until it is supplied again the next week.
“But for the past three weeks now, water hasn’t been supplied and we have resorted to buying water. The water vendors initially sold a truck of water that has 10 jerry cans for either 250 Naira or 300 Naira. But now, they sell for at least 750 Naira.”
The water challenge in Madabo area of the Lokoja metropolis seems to be worse as Amina said she lost touch with the issue of water supply adding that they do not expect it because they know it will not be supplied.
However, residents of the popular Governor Wada Road, a new settlement on Lokoja -Ajaokuta expressway who are neighbours to the site of Greater Lokoja Water Works are pleading with Governor Yahaya Bello to reticulate their area.
They noted that when it is done, it will ameliorate their suffering and bring succour to the people.
Though there are accusations by residents that the Kogi State Water Board was selling water at the old waterworks to tankers and pure water manufacturing companies who in turn sell to the residents at exorbitant rates.
Some of the vendors who spoke to our correspondent attributed the hike in prices of water to long queue at the boreholes and they have to pay more because of the scarcity.
At the time of filing this report, the Commissioner for Water Resources, Hon. Abdulmumin Danga did not respond to his calls.