Central Nigeria’s Plateau State Officials have resorted to manual transportation of water to suburbs not linked to city water supply stations.
Dozens of slums in Jos, the capital of Plateau State rely on mobile water vendors, streams or wells mostly located far from homes.
Officials last Thursday declared a total lockdown of the State to prevent the spread of Covid-19, arresting anyone who defaults. This left many communities stranded without water, until Jos North Local Government authorities considered lifting and distributing water by tankers.
“Water is essential to human existence and the desire of this administration is to continue providing portable water to aid the people during the Lockdown,” Chairman of the Local Government, Mr. Shehu Usman said, Monday in a press statement through his Information Officer, Philip Eplong.
The first phase of the distribution covered communities within Tudun Wada/Kabong, a local ward with over 300,000 population.
“This is really touching; my people were literally dying of water and food crisis. The Chairman had supplied grains and pasta; and it’s now water, which is quite relieving,” said Local Government legislator representing the Ward, Mr. Christopher Azi.
In Africa, women and children are mostly left with the burden of traveling distances to fetch water for family use. “This will save us a lot; we no longer have to expose ourselves to security risks now that the streets are desolate, or expose ourselves to arrest by going out during the lockdown in search of water,” said a breastfeeding mother in the area, Mrs. Anna Akila.
Mrs. Akila however wants government to sustain the supplies or better still provide them with pipe borne water to keep their children from diseases and school absenteeism.
“Our children fall sick from drinking unsafe water gotten from wells and streams and thus miss school. Sometimes without falling sick, they miss classes while helping out to fill the water tanks and that is not healthy for us as families. We want our children to grow and excel like every other child,” she said.
Pipe borne water is however a State obligation. Present Local Government Officials in the Jos city area are on temporary appointment, and might therefore not have the legislative and financial backing to execute capital projects.
To effectively supplying water to the entire LGA through manual transportation however, authorities might need to higher more tankers and supply on daily basis. This in time might consume funds capable of constructing motorized boreholes, which fall within the mandate of LGAs. Jos North authorities might however do well to consider this option, to save funds and save more households.