Further comments on Corruption in the water sector in Nigeria

The topic under discussion has been silently operating and, siphoning money meant for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene projects out of States, thereby limiting progress on the MDGs despite several programmes and billions channelled towards it, unfortunately. Come to think of it, look at the operating procedures of the MDAs, vis-a-vis the coordinating offices. The level of corruption in the sector leaves too much to be desired as the perfection of injustices and siphoning peoples’ money through dubious contracts and when these contracts are implemented, they are substandard, breaks down within the shortest period of time, mostly within the 6 months retention period without being achieved.

Right from procurement to assessment of tenders and contracts awards, some stakehholders are in the habit of getting across all the companies with a promise to help them win the contract, having in mind that at least, some of the contacted coys will eventually be successful, hence, an avenue to hold them to ransom and demand  gratifications of various dimensions, such as half of the contracts value, geophysical survey, installation, platform construction to outright drilling of the safe water sources at cost contained in the BOQ.

Now, how do the formal MDAs staff supervise a work that they have either collected gratifications on or done? Hence, some of the handed-over facilities are liabilities since inception and are not manageable by WASHCOMs/WCAs due to faulty provisions, again contributing to high rate of dysfunctionality of safe water source in beneficiary communities.

I have rumminated over this times without number and concluded that the reform in the WASH sector is bedevilled with many corrupt tendencies, and officials who are interested in puncturing any good programmes/projects for personal gain. Some of them consolidated their positions with a fragment of the money realised from the dastardly, selfish and inhuman activities. How I wish each of the States in Nigeria and the FGN could assess the functionality status of the costs and benefits of all the water schemes, especially in rural communities and do a total sample survey on all the private sector companies that have been awarded one or two contracts for their experiences and ways forward.

Definitely we cannot continue like this.

Femi Aluko


The problem is not in the programme, but in the system. In a situation where programme meant to be handled by professionals are left in the hands of non-professionals, all in the name of politics, you can’t expect proper coordination. Another issue is the shift from the Supply Driven Approach to Demand Driven Approach. Where communities member are seen as major stakeholders and play major roles at every stages of the planning for the programme, such occurrence can be minimized if not totally eradicated.

Adeola Florence


Dear Dr Depo,

It is encouraging that you are coming boldly against a cankerworm in the water industry in Nigeria. Can we imagine what a government wants to achieve with advance purchase of chemicals (alum, HTH, etc) for 3-4years ahead of usage? Chemicals that loose potency by the day and with specific shelf life. I am not talking of 3-4years supply contract with quarterly supply and corresponding progressive payments but huge lump sum payment for such commitment. Thereafter the govt says it has committed so much on the water supply sector and all other requests should go to ‘sleep’. How will the overall maintenance be achieved without collapse?.

Over 10yrs in Nigeria the World bank and other external funding agencies have campaigned for water sector reform in operations and development plans presentation. Why has it been difficult to inculcate some of the best practices available into our systems? It is because corruption gaps are most likely to be significantly reduced. This will directly reduce the sector being a target for corrupt practices.

I hope that a number of us professionals or in authority (as government officials) to certify some of these projects will be able to stand up to our oath of professional ethics or code of conduct in the circumstances. Best wishes,

Engr. Dimeji Akinhanmi

One response to “Further comments on Corruption in the water sector in Nigeria

  1. Hello Depo,

    I read your response to my contribution to your article on the above subject and noticed that you obviously did not see how effective the process of recall of any of our corrupt politicians could be. I am however happy that one Ike Okorie, in his article “Like Super Eagles, like Nigeria” at the back page of today’s (October, 14, 2011) of The Punch newspaper, also suggested that Nigerians should exercise their constitutional rights of recall to disband ineffective and corrupt leadership. I believe that if many people are sensitised through this blog of yours for example, we should be able to insist on having our representatives toe the lines of honesty and decency.


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