Kabayi, a suburb and densely-populated area of Mararaba, is hard hit by lack of water. Children and women move around with buckets of water on their head at all times of the day.
On getting there, the first thing a resident welcomes you with is the harrowing tale of what they go through to get water, and the nightmare can only be over with water availability.
Most residents complain that there is neither government-run water scheme nor boreholes in the compounds where they live. For some that are lucky to have boreholes in their domain, the water that comes out of the pump is not hygienic enough for drinking.
The only option for residents is to fetch water from local streams, which they describe as living in the olden days.
The stream is about 10 kilometers from where most residents reside. When it rains, water from the road heads straight to the stream and pollutes it, making it unsafe for use.
Government seems to be aware of the situation. For instance, during the celebration of this year’s World Water Day, Minister of Water Resources, Engr Suleiman Adamu, lamented that most Nigerians still get water from bad sources.
According to him, over 43 per cent of Nigerians lack access to good water despite the accomplishments and the enormous opportunities the country is endowed with in the water sector in terms of abundant freshwater, favourable weather, substantial human capacity and numerous institutional arrangement.
The minister attributed open defecation to be the cause of cholera, typhoid, dysentery, diarrhoea hepatitis B and other water-borne diseases.
Adamu said the “situation shows that majority of the remaining 93% are drawing water from other sources that cannot guarantee freshness evident in the indiscriminate digging of boreholes with resultant consequences on the environment in the urban areas and fetching of unclean water from rivers and streams in the rural areas.”
One of the residents Akan Jacob, a driver, told Daily Sun that when water scarcity bites harder he uses his car to get water for his family from a nearby street.
He said, “That is what we go through every time. Sometimes, when there is no power, the people who sell water either increase the amount from N20 to N30.
“Since my wife is pregnant, I don’t allow her to stress herself or drink the water for the fear of cholera or any disease.”
Another resident, Emeka, a drycleaner, said their situation has reached a point that it should attract the attention of government. He lamented that the water situation was stalling his business as he has to buy more water for to keep his customers happy.
“I don’t like disappointing my customers. If I give them a particular date, I like keeping to it. I wash and iron one shirt for N200 but when there is no power supply, and water sellers increase the money, I also added additional N50, which I am not happy about,” he said.
The Water Resources Minister appeared to be addressing the problem of the community when he pledged that the “ministry is committed to its mandate of formulating and implementing policies, projects and programmes that will enable sustainable access to safe and sufficient water to meet the social, cultural and economic developmental needs of all Nigerians, for all uses, in ways that contribute to enhancing public health, food security, eradicate poverty while maintaining the integrity of freshwater ecosystem of the nation.”
What is to be seen is how far such pledge will be fulfilled.