Kubwa residents laments over water scarcity


…Relies on water vendor for survival

By Taofeek LAWAL, Abuja

Residents of Kubwa, a satellite town in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), have continued to lament over weeklong water scarcity, says they now depend on water vendor for survival daily.

The significance of water has been epitomized in the saying that, “Thousands have lived without love, not one without water” also according to a popular song by the late Afrobeat crooner, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, who sang that water has no enemy. In everything that a man does, he cannot not do without water. A human can go without food for about three weeks but will only last between three to four days without water.

Kubwa, a residential district in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), under Bwari, is one of the six area councils in Nigerian capital city. It is one of the major suburbs within the metropolitan area of Abuja and considered to be the largest satellite town in West Africa.

Nigerians from all walks of life live in Kubwa and have been co-exist peacefully, intermingle and give one another support and enjoy basic needs of life which are house, food and shelter.

But in the last two weeks, Kubwa residents have been battling water scarcity due to the activities of vandals Nigerian NewsDirect learnt. The vandals stole pipes that supply water to the Kubwa axis of the FCT. The FCT Water Board, the body responsible for providing healthy and adequate water supply for human consumption and industrial uses in Abuja had informed the residents of Kubwa of disruption to water supply pleading with them that the problem would be fixed in no small time.

And after waiting for a solution with no end in sight, residents have devised means of getting water for themselves by patronizing boreholes in addition to relying on water vendors (Mairuwa) to supply water to their homes.

A visit to Kubwa by NewsDirect revealed that residents wake up as early as 4 o’clock in the morning to source for water wherever they can find it. Residents besiege boreholes in their numbers trying to outwit one another all in a bid to get water for domestic use such as washing, bathing, cleaning and most especially for drinking.

Majority of residents who spoke to our correspondent expressed displeasure about what they referred to as slow pace of response and action from the FCT Water Board saying whatever could have happened, the water body supposed to have plan B to provide for the need of the people. Badly hit are residents at Kubwa Village and those at where can be referred as the centre of Kubwa.

“Water is life and nobody can survive without it. If there is a body responsible for the supply of water in Abuja and two weeks on we don’t have water, it says a lot about the importance we attach to human lives and their needs. We have been surviving on boreholes and we are at the mercy of water vendors who have hiked the price of water because demand has overshot supply. We want quick action from the Water Board to go back to our normal life,” Paulina Osakwe, a civil servant told our correspondent.

But while addressing the media in Abuja on Wednesday, the Head of Department (HOD) Distribution, FCT Water Board, Abolade Lawal, said the board is leaving no stone unturned to alleviate the sufferings of not only the Kubwa residents but also other places facing water problem like Gwagwalada, Airport, University of Abuja and Gudu. Lawal said there was an issue with pipelines that service phases three and four treatment plants.

“About a week ago, the water was gushing out too much which we brought out and we seek the assistance of SCC NIGERIA LTD, one of our closest contractors, to come and see exactly what happened. We realised that one of the Viking joints failed, which is going to be replaced now. We are practically doing everything possible to make sure all our customers have water supply. Phase One of the Federal Capital City (Garki 1&2, Wuse 1&2, Asokoro, and Asokoro extensions are having water supply. All things being equal, on Monday (March 29, 2021) evening the treatment plant 3 and 4 will start working again. We first requested for the damaged Viking joint from our partners, the SCC Nigeria Limited, who sent their own partner and ordered for the equipment. Unfortunately, they received information that COVID-19 restrictions in France will not allow them to do so. And because the supply for the equipment was ordered from France we are working on plan B and that is what we’re doing now. Part of the phase two of the city is getting water supply, and all our customers living in phase two of the city will surely get water in the night when the pressure on the water reduces. Those that are not getting water supply right now are our customers in Kubwa, Gwagwalada, Airport, University of Abuja and Gudu,” Lawal said.

The HOD Distribution added, “We are currently cutting and filing the pipe, which will take us to the evening of today (Thursday) and tomorrow (Friday) we are coming back to install all that have been removed, so that the waterline can be put into use again, and by tomorrow we would have finished welding works. And thereafter, we will do the coating on Saturday, and we need to leave it to dry. But it will take us about one day for the process to be completed and the water to get into the pipe, and the water treatment plant to begin operation again.”

In the meantime, the water vendors are making their money as long as the water scarcity persists while the residents are hoping that there will be a quick fix to the problem at hand.