By Victor Christopher @iamvictorcool
Hajiya Habiba Abdullahi wipes tears from her eyes with her wrapper, her crackling voice communicating deep pain as she recalls how her family struggled to get potable water in her house at Gama A, situated in Nasarawa Local Government Area of Kano.
But now, the pain is over after a businessman and philanthropist, Alh. Idi Mai-Riba installed a borehole for them free of charge.
“Before we don’t have water. We will spend hours looking for water for our daily use, and we won’t get any. But after he moved in here 4 years ago, water is the least of our problems”, she said.
Another Gama ‘A’ resident, Hajara Abdullahi says she never bought water three years ago after the gesture, hence the money saved from that is being used to augment feeding expenses.
“Before the borehole was installed, I usually spent about N1,000 for water daily. But right now I hardly buy water because of the constant supply. I used the money meant to get water to assist my family”.
1.4 Million People Die Due To Diseases Related To Poor Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene
According to World Health Organization (WHO), 1.4 million people die annually and 74 million will have their lives shortened by diseases related to poor water, sanitation, and hygiene.
The statistics further said 1 in 4 people – 2 billion people worldwide lack safe drinking water worldwide.
With a population estimated at over 18 million, Kano requires 440 million litres per day. The metropolitan areas alone need about 210 million litres daily, but getting just 50 million litres from Challawa Dam.
In 2017, Alh. Idi Mai-Riba a resident at Gama “A” installed a borehole inside his residence – Mai-Riba then put a pump close to the main gate of the house specifically for residents who are in dear need of water.
According to him, he put the pump there to assist residents having experienced the challenges of having potable water as a kid.
“I always have it in mind to assist the needy because once upon a time, I was like that. Hopefully, people in the State will do something like this to help those who could not afford water”.
Prior to Mai-Riba’s relocation to the area, a Mosque opposite his house was spending about N1,620 on ablution water daily. The Imam of the Mosque, Nasiru Muhammad shares their relief with Nigeria Info.
“Honestly, we spent at least N1,600 to buy water for ablution daily. But right now we just fetch from the pump. During Ramadan fasting, he usually fetches the water by himself for us. We appreciate his good work”.
Also in 2016, one Auwal Inusa Rano, installed a borehole when he moved to his new house at Badawa Gidan Kwari, still in Nasarawa Local Government Area of Kano.
Since then, residents within and outside the area never lacked water.
“When I moved to the area, I noticed that nobody is assisting residents with water. So when I installed the borehole, a pump was erected outside the specific residents in the area”.
Auwal further said to sustain the gesture “he usually repairs the pump with his money whenever it develops fault”.
Ayuba Idris, who is among the resident benefiting from Rano’s gesture commendable the gesture.
“Almost everyone in this area gets water from his pump. So, we have nothing to say but to thank him and hope that others will learn from this gesture”.
While these affected residents continue to appreciate the gesture and call on others to follow suit, some borehole owners are monetizing the water to boost their income amid the economic challenges.
Kano Has 20 Dams
Kano State has the highest number of dams in Nigeria, with about 20 in total, holding an impressive water reserve, of up to 3.3 billion cubic meters.
Tiga and Challawa Gorge are the largest and are under the Federal government’s control. Other Dams include the Thomas, Watari, and Kusalla dams in addition to the 26 water reservoirs across the main rivers and several other constructed reservoirs in the metropolis.
Challenges Experienced By Residents
Despite all these water bases, the state is still struggling to provide potable water for its residents due to inadequate funding, the rocky nature of some communities as well as obsolete equipment
This development is prompting residents to rely on water cart pushers (Mai-Ruwa) who sell a jerrycan for N70 to N80 depending on the availability of electricity supply and distance.
With the residents trying to be their brother’s keeper, now the big question is how impactful is the state and local government’s responsibility on the provision of urban and rural water supply?
The State Government’s Effort To Address Their Plight
When contacted, the Managing Director of Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASA), Shammwilu Abdulkadir Isa assures that the present administration is determined to address the problem and ensure constant water supply to residents.
“The first thing I did as the MD of RUWASA was to check communities who lack access to potable water. So this will help us know why residents of such areas are having difficulties having constant supply.
Now, our target is to provide water to residents in urban and rural slums who are experiencing inadequate water supply”, he adds.
This kind of promise is not new to Kano residents, they can only hope for its timely actualization as part of the dividends of democracy.
And beyond the dividend, the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal SDG stresses the need to ensure access to water for all by 2030. If Nigeria would attain this feat in the next 7 years, the time for action is NOW!.