Government Failure Makes Water Vendors Necessary in Abuja

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The non-flowing taps in most parts of Abuja has led to the popularity of water vendors popularly known as “Mairuwa”.

They provide essential service to the ever growing Abuja population, especially in satellite and suburb towns, a survey has revealed.

A cross section of residents, who spoke on Wednesday, confirmed that apart from Garki, Wuse, Maitama, and Asoroko, which are the major areas in the Abuja metropolis, a greater part of the territory lacked pipe borne water.

The situation has resulted to the proliferation of private boreholes and continuous engagement of the Mairuwa’s services, the survey revealed.

A few areas that had laid water pipes experienced unstable water supply while others had taps that had stopped flowing for years, hence the need to patronize water vendors.

While most respondents applauded the services of this group of providers in the delivery of water, an essential commodity, others had useful suggestions for a more effective service to the populace.

A resident of Galadimawa, Anna Adole, urged health workers to conduct enlightenment programmes on personal hygiene for the vendors.

“You need to see the environment in which this water is taken from; the borehole is dirty, the drainages and gutters are an eyesore, and some vendors stink from dirt due to the lack of a proper bath.

“But what can we do when government has abandoned the supply of water to citizens? It is mostly the only source of water supply. We have to just manage the water by evolving common water cleansing methods and also choose to patronize the neater vendors,” she said.

She noted that awareness on personal hygiene would guarantee some form of safety which would go a long way in protecting the water from pollution.

Sharing the same views, Tosin Ogunsanya, a resident of Apo, called for a monitoring mechanism to determine the source and distribution of water in these areas.

“Health officers should be involved in this and not just in intervening in the well-known areas; the population of Abuja is more widespread in the suburbs and satellite towns.

“We need them to engage these service providers in personal hygiene and training. They are rendering good service but they could do better,” he said.

While commending water vendors’ efforts for the supply of water to households, some residents, however, decried that government abandoned its responsibility of providing water.

The Mairuwa, they observed, lacked the wherewithal to manage or distribute water.

“We should not muddle up responsibilities, the government ought to provide potable water not the water vendors; so let them try and improve on water supply for the citizens,” a resident said. “If we have running water, Mairuwa will be phased out; until then, we have no other option. Dirty or clean, they are doing much more than the government right now.”

Some residents from Lugbe, parts of Apo, Jikwoyi and Kubwa also added their voices to the call for the vendors to embrace hygienic practices such as washing their clothes, water containers and wheeling device.

A resident of Lugbe, Abiola Oyekunbi, urged residents to talk to the vendors privately about neatness and better ways to handle their tools of delivery.

While responding to the plight of residents in accessing potable water in most parts of the territory, a top official of the FCT Water Board who pleaded anonymity, said the trend would continue for the time being as plans to supply water to areas like Lugbe and Kuje would take up to 15 years.

He identified the challenges militating against the provision of water to include building houses on water ways, inadequate funding and non-compliance to laid out plans.

He said the board is considering alternative measures that would avoid the demolition of houses on water ways.

He, however, noted that surveys were being carried out in all these areas for future plans on the provision of water.

In : Abuja

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