Abdullahi Hassan, Zaria
Weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari had commissioned the second phase of the Zaria Water Project, residents of the town have continued to doubt the possibility of the completing the project by next year. They are unconvinced that project, intended to end the perennial water shortage, would be completed as scheduled given that previous timelines were not met.
The project has a tall history. It was initiated in 1989 by the Late Brigadier General Tanko Ayuba, continued by General Sarki Muktar. It was inherited by ex-governors Namadi Sambo and Muktar Ramalan Yero, both implemented the project up to 80 per cent completion.
Interestingly, the project has been commissioned three times in the past seven years. The first was done in 2016 by Yero, the second by Governor Nasiru el-Rufai while the third was by the then Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Adogie Oyegun in 2017.
Daily Sun gathered that there is a general belief that the project has since become a conduit pipe as funds repeatedly allocated to the project have been probably diverted. El-Rufai had last year accused past governments of siphoning the funds set aside for the project:
“Already, we have agreed with the contractors to carry on with the project and we will pay them their money monthly until the completion of the project. The project is expected to gulp over N60 billion.
“The water treatment plant is going to cost us N24 billion. We are going to spend about N20 billion on the expansion then the transmission. It will now cost the state government about N60 billion. The reservoir together with booster stations would cost about N16 billion. Other components of the project include solid waste management under sanitation programme.
“From what we have seen on ground, if it continues like that, we are convinced they will meet the target and for the expansion it will be completed around the middle of next year.” He lamented that some people built on the water lines while some others built on the transmission lines: “There were so many encroachments into pipeline areas. We have gone far in the rehabilitation of pipelines, we have excavated and removed old pipes and in one way or the other, that will affect people. “Again, by the time you excavate a road, definitely you would discomfort some people, especially road users, as the people will be forced to change their route.
“We have sensitised the general public through opinion leaders on the project of Zaria Water Supply and Sanitation which already is reaching conclusion now. We shall also continue with the excavations and laying of new pipes as well as expansion of pipes that would take the treated water down to various wards in Zaria. We are going to lay the service pipes that would enable the connection to various residents and industrial consumers within Zaria.”
Malam Ibrahim Mustafa, a resident of Gyellesu: “Honestly, we are begging to see changes in water supply in the town. At the moment we have started receiving water through our taps, which means the project will soon be completed.”
Aliyu Danazumi, a lecturer at Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic, said: “Although the project has been on for many years, the test transmission is on, but most areas do not know anything about water running through their taps so there is need for change.”
Professor Ibrahim Musa Magaji lives at Hanwa GRA: “It is important to remind Mallam el-Rufai on the need to shun politics in the project. The project was commissioned severally, yet no water was received.”