By Linda Ike
The Residents of the Federal Capital Territory.(FCT) have decried lack of access to Potable Water in some of their communities, which forces some of them to drink from the same source with animals.
They said despite the enormous annual budgetary allocations by the Government for portable water supply, that the residents in and around the FCT, Abuja, are in the pain of getting clean water for household use and drinking.
In a statement by the Communication Office, Progressive Impact Organisation for Community Development (PRIMORG) Mr. Chidozie Ogbonnaya said the outcry is coming on the heels of a recent investigation by the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), which exposed that residents of Ike Bassa and Ike Ninzo in Kwali Area Council; and the Zokutu community in Kuje Area Council are drinking contaminated water from shallow-dug holes and caves.
According to the statement, Chief Executive Officer of Washmata Initiative, Dr. Boluwaji Onabolu, who featured in the anti-corruption radio programme, PUBLIC CONSCIENCE, by PRIMORG, on Wednesday in Abuja. called on relevant authorities to urgently wade into the water emergency in the affected FCT communities to avoid the health consequences of people using contaminated water.
While noting that Government has a statutory responsibility to provide safe water to its citizens, ,Onaboliu called on the Federal Ministry of Water Resources to develop a vulnerability risk assessment as part of the strategy used by state governments and the area councils in providing water to citizens.
She emphasised the need for more motorised boreholes to be provided in FCT communities groaning under lack of access to potable water and also charged the FCT Rural Water Supply & Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA) with adopting a systemic approach to ensuring the most vulnerable communities are reached.
She said, “FCT RUWASSA needs to use a systematic approach called a vulnerability risk assessment to do a rapid assessment and know the most vulnerable, leave no one behind and prioritize those people.
Onabolu harped on the sustainability of motorized boreholes and stated, “In several communities in Abuja, motorized boreholes have been provided, but for some reason, these boreholes have broken down.
“So every institution that provides water should not provide water without leaving tools and training behind to ensure that the communities can also operate and maintain this water”.
On his part, a Resident of Ike Ninzo community, Mohammed Aliyu who was also at the programme described the water situation in his community as very pathetic, revealing that the whole community gets their water from just one pond, which animals also share.
He stated that there is no government presence in the community as not even a single motorized borehole was provided in the community over the years, calling on government at all level, relevant authorities and non-governmental organizations to speedily come to their rescue.
“Ike community faces a serious problem because we don’t have potable drinking water. The members of the community drink from a river, and it is the same place where animals drink water from.
“In most cases, the water is always contaminated. You should imagine the situation of animals going there to drink at any time. So, people fall sick in this community because of the lack of this potable drinking water.” he stated.
Aliyu disclosed that several efforts by residents of Ike Ninzo to have Kwali Area Council and their representative at the National Assembly intervene in getting them boreholes over the years had been fruitless.
“We are pleading with not only the government, even non-governmental organizations that can come to our aid, but we will also highly welcome them,” He stated.
An investigation, conducted by a staff of the ICIR revealed that poverty and unavailability of water in the communities made the residents of Ike Bassa and Zokutu source their water from caves and unhealthy ponds.
The investigation further exposed the government’s inability to provide potable water, hence the residents had to resort to crude and unhealthy means of getting water by digging shallow holes thereby denying them of their basic needs and rights from their Leaders and Representatives.