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Congressional Black Caucus Against Lagos Water Privatisation

On February 27, 2015 this blog raised similar concern about the issue of privatizing Lagos State water supply as shown in the link:

https://weircentreforafrica.com/2015/02/27/privatisation-of-water-supply-in-developing-economies-lagos-state-case/

 

Congressional Black Caucus Against Lagos Water Privatisation

The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) has expressed worry over the planned privatisation of water in Lagos in a letter signed by 23 of its members.
The members, represent half of the CBC, said the disproportionately harmful effect water privatization schemes, including public-private partnerships, have on people of color around the world, with signers pointing specifically to efforts to privatize water in Lagos, where the World Bank has pushed privatisation as a solution despite its abysmal track record.
The letter cites two US examples, Detroit and Baltimore. By prioritizing revenue over access, much as a private utility would, the cities have raised rates and forced the shut off of water access for tens of thousands, drawing the concern of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Water.
As part of a global movement to oppose corporate control of water, spanning from Jakarta to St. Louis, Baltimore recently avoided potentially perilous contract with global private water corporation Veolia. Detroit Representative John Conyers, Jr. led the signers with Rep. Karen Bass, ranking member of the Africa subcommittee. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, the Democratic co-chair of the Nigeria Caucus, and Reps. Maxine Waters and Emanuel Cleaver, two former CBC chairs, are also among the influential signers.
In the US, from Detroit to Baltimore, aggressive collections policies are curtailing people’s access to water, disproportionately affecting communities of color as the letter’s signers note. In Lagos the World Bank has lobbied for decades to privatise water systems.
In 2012, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) – the private investment arm of the World Bank, held a conference in Senegal to persuade African leaders to privatise their water systems. The conference featured Manila, Philippines as a model for replication, despite that project’s record of massive rate hikes, quality concerns, and communities with severely limited access. International arbitration recently found that major pieces of the Manila deal violate Philippines law.
The letter read in part: “We wish to express our solidarity with the people of Lagos, of Detroit, and of cities around the world as they raise their voices in support of public water, participatory governance, and universal access..Water is a fundamental building block upon which individual and collective economic prosperity relies..When people cannot access or afford clean water, the impact on their health and livelihoods is devastating” … “and these circumstances force families to make painful economic choices.”
Meanwhile the Environmental Rights Action /Friends of the Earth Nigeria(ERA/FoEN) has commended the CBC for its letter of solidarity with Lagos residents and people in the global struggle to access clean,safe drinking water, describing the action as “timely” in halting the planned privatisation of water in Lagos.
ERA/FoEN Director, Corporate Accountability & Administration, Akinbode Oluwafemi said: “The solidarity letter from the CBC is an encouragement for anti-privatisation groups to scale up our campaign against policies that prioritise profits over rights. We expect the Lagos State government to halt the privatization plans and instead defend the rights of the vast majority of Lagos residents that water privatization will disenfranchise.”
Oluwafemi, who recently visited CBC offices to seek support for the campaign against water privatisation in Lagos promoted by the Lagos State Water Corporation (LSWC), thanked members of the caucus for supporting the campaign by Lagosians to defend their right to a free gift of nature.
ERA/FoEN and a coalition of labor , human rights and environmental groups have taken to the streets, creating enough pressure that water privatization was a central issue in the recent elections.
Supporting the move, Shayda Naficy, Challenge Corporate Control of Water campaign director at Corporate Accountability International said:” Around the globe, the human right to water is under threat and people of color are disproportionately affected,” said “Whether it’s the World Bank or Detroit City hall, this fundamental right must be upheld. The best way to do that is to keep water systems democratically accountable and in public hands.”
The CBC members learned recently that the coalition of Lagosians, in the face of this relentless lobbying from the World Bank, have raised the visibility of the plans and organized to stop it in its tracks. The campaign has engaged directly with candidates and elected officials on the issue, and marched through the streets of Lagos, but privatization remains a risk. The group’s most recent visit to Washington, DC made clear to members of Congress that what threatens water in Lagos threatens the water of people across the U.S. as well.
Congressional co-signers of the letter include Alma Adams(D-NC), Karen Bass (D-CA), Corrine Brown (D-FL), Wm. Lacy Clay (D-MO), Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Donna Edwards(D-MD), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Chaka Fattah (D-PA), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX),Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Donald Payne (D-NJ), Stacey Plaskett (D-VI), Charles Rangel (D-NY), Cedric Richmond (D-LA), Robert Rush (D-IL), Marc Veasey (D-TX),Maxine Waters (D-CA), Frederica Wilson (D-FL).

 

Privatisation of Water Supply in Developing Economies: Lagos State Case

It is common practice in most developing economies to withhold information from stakeholders during periods of reform even when there are no ulterior motives. This practice usually puts ideas of corruption or unsavory intentions that may enrich the public servants and or politicians  involved in the reform  aimed at better services delivery.

Corruption has been the bane of governments’ efforts in improving water supply service delivery in Nigeria. Politicians often see Water Corporations or Boards as ready made institutions where public funds can be easily siphoned without the public being aware. This is why one finds a Water Corporation purchasing 25-year supply of alum and large supplies other chemicals that have limited shelve lives.

The article below from Premium Times captures the main reason behind the failure of Lagos State Water Corporation/IFC in their bid to privatize Lagos State Water supply — “And this advisory contract is undisclosed by both the World Bank and the Lagos government, and both the privatization the IFC is designing and the advisory contract itself are being carried out in secrecy, without public participation and input from Lagosian stakeholders.
“This lack of transparency leaves residents with very little information about important developments that will affect them directly.”

Comments by DEPO ADENLE

How Civil Society helped block secret plot by Lagos Govt., World Bank to privatise water
February 19, 2015Ben Ezeamalu

The announcement sent a collective sigh of relief to the water corporation staff and civil society activists. After months of negotiation on how to privatize the water supply in Lagos, between the World Bank and the Lagos Water Corporation, the bank has called off the talks.
But before the bank’s decision, activists and civil servants had mounted pressure on the water company against such a move, which they said would raise the cost of having access to water beyond the reach of ordinary Lagosians.
The Corporation’s staff, who stood to lose their jobs, went a step further to threaten to do “everything to frustrate” the move.
Last month, the World Bank issued a statement announcing a breakdown in talks between its International Finance Corporation and the Lagos Water Corporation.
“Contrary to recent reports, IFC has not signed any agreement with the Lagos Water Corporation (LWC),” the bank said in the statement. “LWC expressed interest in working with IFC and we had a number of discussions on how we might be able to assist the company. In the end, IFC decided not to advise LWC. We continue to support the government and people of Nigeria in achieving their development goals.”
Shrouded in secrecy
The latest round of negotiations between the bank and the LWC to design a water privatization scheme in the state began 18 months ago.
With public outcry on the danger of such a move, the LWC maintained that it was not going into privatization, just discussions on how to optimize water supply to Lagosians.
But details of their negotiations were kept away from the public, including civil society groups who had pushed for information disclosure.
In October last year, a rights advocacy group, the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), said it made attempts to obtain information relating to the negotiation but continually met brick walls.
“Despite the World Bank’s 60-day disclosure policy, the Lagos contract had not been disclosed on the bank’s website and had been hidden from civil society,” said Akinbode Oluwafemi, Director of Corporate Accountability, ERA/FoEN.
With pressure from Nigerian groups, hundreds of other civil society bodies and activists across the United States began calling and sending out messages to the World Bank demanding full disclosure of the project.
“Our investigations indicate that the IFC is currently being paid by the Lagos government as an official advisor to develop a plan for the city’s water privatization,” Mr. Oluwafemi said.
“And this advisory contract is undisclosed by both the World Bank and the Lagos government, and both the privatization the IFC is designing and the advisory contract itself are being carried out in secrecy, without public participation and input from Lagosian stakeholders.
“This lack of transparency leaves residents with very little information about important developments that will affect them directly.
In December, a PREMIUM TIMES’ Freedom of Information request for details of the negotiations with the World Bank also met a brick wall. An official at the LWC headquarters at Ijora declined to answer questions put to him and promised to e-mail answers or arrange an interview with the Group Managing Director, Shayo Holloway.
He did neither.
Lagos State has two major waterworks at Iju and Adiyan, providing a combined supply of 115 Million Gallons Per Day for the 20 million residents, according to information on LWC’s website.
Expansion of other waterworks – micro and mini waterworks – spread across the state has been ongoing for years, and provision of tap water is still limited to a fraction of the population.
The corporation says its current installed capacity is 210 million gallons per day, whereas the actual water demand in Lagos is 540 million gallons per day.
Most residents solve their water needs through self-help, patronizing water vendors, digging wells, or sinking boreholes in their homes.
No Privatization Plans
Before the World Bank announced its decision to shelve talks with Lagos State government, the LWC management had continued to insist that it had no plans to privatize the corporation.
Mr. Holloway said, in a statement December, that the Lagos State government was only trying to partner with the private sector “in a bid to increase water supply and alleviate poverty”.
“According to Engr. Holloway, PPP (Public Private Partnership) is not Privatization. Privatization involves the sale of government-owned asset to private investors, while PPP involves fresh injection of private capital into the efficient management of government-owned assets,” said the statement published on the corporation’s website.
“In order to meet the demand gap as well as the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) 2015, LWC has developed a Lagos Water Supply Master Plan (2010 – 2020) which outlines the infrastructure development programmes into short, medium and long term phases.
“By year 2020, water demand is expected to be 733 million gallons per day, while the water production will be 745 million gallons per day, leaving us with the excess of 12 million gallons per day. The need to bridge the gap has necessitated the involvement of the private sector by way of injecting more capital to improve efficiency of existing state-owned assets.”
The LWC refused to make public the nature of its partnership with the “private sector.”
But according to information obtained by PREMIUM TIMES, the water corporation’s plans involved a concession of the state-owned major water works to private investors who would produce water and sell to the government. And the government would then sell to the final consumer.
Dissatisfied workers
On December 17, the corporation’s workers’ union, the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees, AUCPTRE, held a meeting with the management where they aired their disagreement with the planned “partnership”.
Tomiwa Odusanwo, the chairman, AUCPTRE branch of LWC, insisted that the management was planning to privatize the corporation.
“You cannot know my management beyond me,” Mr. Odusanwo told PREMIUM TIMES in an interview in January.
“We were not carried along. The funny thing is that we heard it over the news, read it in newspapers, and because we have seen how it was recorded in other African countries, even in western world.”
“The Iju and Adiyan water works are going to be in concession as well. There are some foreign investors now, in their master plan for 2010-2020, that those investors will use their money and construct mini water works.”
At a workers’ meeting at the LWC headquarters in Ijora, Mr. Odusanwo and his colleagues were unanimous that they won’t go the way of the staff of the recently privatized Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, who protested for months over the non-payment of their severance benefits.
“The management of Water Corporation, presently, are after capital projects. They are not after welfare of the staff or anything that will benefit the staff. That is why we are saying no to that privatization,” said Mr. Odusanwo.
“Because presently now the corporation is owing pension, gratuity, plus pension to PENCOM close to N1 billion. As I speak to you now our deducted pension was not remitted adequately to our PFA (Pension Fund Administrator).
“The corporation is indebted seriously. So with privatization, many of us will be laid off without going home with a penny and that will be so disastrous for us.”
The involvement of the World Bank and its investment arm – the IFC- in water schemes across the world has not exactly been a success story.
Recently, many cities that, in expectation of availability of affordable potable water, signed a two decade or longer water concessions with private investors, have terminated the contracts and returned their water systems to the state.
According to Transnational Institute, an organization that studies global needs, 180 communities and cities across the globe, from Accra to Kuala Lumpur, have returned water provision to public control in the past ten years.
In January, the IFC announced it had no ongoing water concession projects in Africa, after about 30 per cent of its water investment in Africa over the past two decades resulted into a failure.
“Like in Manila, in Ghana, World Bank corporate partners attempted to privatize and profit from water,” said Mr. Oluwafemi.
“Poor service, limited access and chronic quality problems forced the Ghanaian government not to renew a bank-backed contract for a private corporation to manage the country’s water.
“Around the world, the IFC advises governments, conducts corporate bidding processes, designs complex and lopsided water privatization contracts, dictates arbitration terms, and is part-owner of water corporations that win the contracts it designs and recommends, all the while aggressively marketing the model to be replicated around the world.
“Not only do these activities undermine democratic water governance, but they constitute an inherent conflict of interest within the IFC’s activities in the water sector, an alarming pattern seen from Eastern Europe to India to Southeast Asia.”
In Lagos, commercial sale of water by individuals is big business, with a 20-litre jerry can selling for N20 in most areas in the metropolis.
However, the cost of the water provided by the LWC comes at a cheaper rate, depending on the location.
In Dolphin Estate, Victoria Island, for instance, a flat pays a monthly rate of N800 for water while a duplex is billed N2, 400.
Water rates on the mainland costs even cheaper.
In Surulere for instance, a flat is charged N500, while a duplex is N800 monthly. At the Ojota axis, where there are a lot of single room apartments (popularly known as ‘Face-me-I-Face-You), a room is N100. A flat is N500, and a duplex N800.
According to civil society groups, water privatization negates the 2010 United Nations recognition of water as a fundamental human right.
“If the IFC was successful in securing a large-scale water PPP in Lagos, it would mirror that of the electricity sector privatization, which has imposed sky-rocketing electricity bills without delivering improved service,” Mr. Oluwafemi said.
“The IFC’s track record in the water sector is frightening: prices sky rocket, utility workers lose their jobs, water quality suffers, low-income communities have their water shut off, governments incur devastating debt, and public sovereignty is threatened by undemocratic arbitration.
“Privatization is not the solution for Lagos: it leads to corporate profits and has never provided universal access.
Additionally, if the IFC deal (had sailed) through, it would have opened the doors for several contracts for water corporations to take over the water system, and bidding by 2015.”

Cholera in Nigeria: an update

A little over three weeks ago, I posted this article on cholera and towards the end of the introduction to the essay, I wondered aloud: “If we cannot control cholera, God help us if there is Ebola outbreak.”
Now that ebola is at our doorstep the fact that our governments usually fail to take note of timely information may be a contributing factor to epidemics.

weircentreforafrica

Towards the end of last year, this blog carried an essay on cholera and wondered whether October should be referred to as cholera month in Nigeria.

Below are updates by two institutions – Weekly Trust and UNICEF.

The causes given for the outbreak have been adduced in previous in both learned and general publications. Yet the situation is not improving from year to year. What should the three tiers of government do? If we cannot control cholera, God help us if there is Ebola outbreak.

DEPO ADENLE.

Cholera Ravages Nigeria

by Ruby Leo, Lami Sadiq & Onimi Alao, Abubakar Auwal, Isa Liman & Ahmed Mohammed, Bauchi, Weekly Trust, Nigeria, Saturday, 12 April 2014

… kills over 100 since January A new wave of cholera epidemic blowing across the country may have claimed hundreds of lives since January and does not seem to be abating anytime soon with the onset…

View original post 1,471 more words

Update on Desertification in Nigeria

This blog has published articles on the environment excerpted from a number of Dailies in Nigeria, especially from the Daily Trust. The article copied from the June 18, 2014 Daily Trust below is the latest information recorded in the Nigerian Dailies on desertification in the country with special emphasis on the North.

Highlights from this new addition are: •

“In 1994, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 17 the “World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought” to promote public awareness of the issue, and the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in those countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa.”

•The list of the 11 Northern Nigeria frontline states as regards desertification.

•The Pan African Initiative – “The Great Green Wall (GGW) project in Nigeria and the role being played by the Minister of Environment – Mrs. Laurentina Mallam – in this project.

• Efforts of Kebbi Government in reclaiming its forests reserves.

• Zamfara’s inclusion of the GGW project in its 2014 appropriation bill. •

Kebbi State Commissioner for Environment, Ishaku Dauda’s success of the GGW’s in Borango and Facaka communities in his state. World Day to Combat Desertification … Rising to the Challenge of Desertification in the North

DEPO ADENLE.

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World Day to Combat Desertification … Rising to the Challenge of Desertification in the North

Chidimma C. Okeke , The Daily Trust, Wednesday, 18 June 2014.

Nigeria, yesterday, joined the rest of the world in marking the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought. Although the day did not witness any official function or activity, the conscious efforts made by leaders of the 11 frontline northern states to address desertification in their communities and states was a right step in the right direction.

In 1994, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 17 the “World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought” to promote public awareness of the issue, and the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in those countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa. Ever since, country Parties to the Convention, organisations of the United Nations System, international and non-governmental organisations and other interested stakeholders have celebrated this particular day with a series of outreach activities worldwide.

The World Day to Combat Desertification is a unique occasion to remind everybody that desertification can be effectively tackled, and that key tools to achieving this aim lay in strengthened community participation and co-operation at all levels. Experts have raised alarm about the rapid depletion of the nation’s ecosystem, a development they attributed to climate change.

In northern Nigeria, 11 states of Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi, Jigawa, Yobe, Borno, Bauchi, Kano, Gombe, Katsina and Adamawa are already suffering the impact of climate change as these states are ravaged by drought and desertification. But recently, the communities and states have evolved conscious strategies to cushion the impact of climate change and prominent among the strategies is the planting of trees.

Under the Pan African initiative, The Great Green Wall (GGW) project, the federal government had been able to mobilise and fund states to plant thousands of trees in the 11 states. The challenge of desertification is more conspicuous in the 11 frontline states as millions of people who rely on land as a vital means of their livelihoods could have their means of livelihoods threatened as a result of encroachment by the desert.

The Minister of Environment, Mrs Laurentia Mallam, during a recent sensitisation and advocacy visit to some of the frontline states stressed the need to sustain the environment by fighting desertification through the GGW programme. She stated that the determination of the federal government to fight desertification was responsible for investing over N10 billion on the GGW. According to Mallam, the GGW programme was designed to bring succour to and alleviate the sufferings of people living in these states where the Sahara was already causing severe damage and generate employment and economic activities to the communities when completed. She said: “The negative effects of desert encroachment is always bad such as lack of water, food and poverty and at times people are forced out of their homes and seek refuge in other places which may result into conflict if they are not accepted or giving opportunity to live freely.”

The Governor of Kebbi State, Saidu Usman Dakingari said that there was a symbiosis between humans and the environment, adding that the ecosystem ensured a balance for living in peace. “If you offset that balance you know the consequences and this is what we have seen in this part of the country. Sometimes the human conflicts, like the Fulani farmers conflict, are due to the offsetting of the environmental balance. “He lamented that people have used large part of the forestry reserve in the state for farming, saying, however, that: “In kebbi state, we are doing as much as we can to recover those forest reserves and plant more and this is why last year, we had 86 kilometres planted, we also have about 21 orchards established around the 21 LGAs of the state. This year we intend to plant about 300 kilometres of the state, with experience of last year, I think we can plant faster and we can do better.” The governor said that if the tempo of the planting was maintained, the state would recover most of the reserve it lost to farmland. “We don’t want any tree to be felled and nobody should build any filling stations, from here to Kalbo and from here to Argungu, we have enough filling stations and that will help us to retain the wall of trees. If not it will go in the next 10 years and they are not ready to replace them. “We hope we can sustain these policies when we invest, the moment you leave your investment they get spoiled, so there should be consistency in policy, pursuance of those policies and the policies should be result oriented.”

Zamfara State government said it included the Great Green Wall (GGW) in its 2014 appropriation bill to assist the federal government in the fight against desert encroachment. The Commissioner for Environment, Mukhtar Muhammad Lugga, said that the GGW project in the state was going to be properly implemented, adding that hindrances to achieving its success have been removed. “The initial problem we had is that we started planting at the end of rainy season and our seedlings did not get the benefit of the early rainfall last year, “ he said. He added that they started early this year by revisiting the project areas and replanting the seedlings that weltered and as a result achieved about 16 kilometres within the space of two months.

Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Samaila Muhammadu Mera, also highlighted the importance of maintaining the environment, no matter where you are and what you do. He said: “The issue of desert encroachment is one that has been with us for long and it is a welcome development that the government is doing everything possible to salvage the situation through the GGW which is not only going to take care of desert encroachment that is stopping people from farming or displacing them, but also to empower them in a way to earn a living and also reduce poverty.” Mera appreciated the effort of the government on the GGW project, promising to continue advocating and ensuring that the people embrace the programme in his emirate. Commissioner for Environment Kebbi State, Ishaku Dauda, said the GGW has succeeded in Boroango, Facaka and other communities where it was implemented. According to him, four boreholes have been constructed with two solar powered ones working while others were at the finishing stages, adding that contract has been awarded for the fencing of the orchards and nurseries. “Environmental impact assessment has been completed in the four communities and they are now feeling the impacts of the GGW, unlike before, and residents are prepared to protect and nurture it as theirs.” Speaking on the contribution from the state environmental sector, he said they have planted 86 kilometres of shelter belts, provided water for it and raised about 900, 000 seedlings in the nurseries located all over the state. He added that this year, the state intended to plant 300 kilometres of shelterbelt in the nine local governments that are prone to desert encroachment and roadside planting was made in 12 local governments.

“We, therefore, call on all stakeholders involved in the implementation of the GGW to pursue it with all vigour so that Nigerians in rural areas will start enjoying the benefit like their counterparts in Senegal,” he said.

October: the Cholera Month in Nigeria; Cholera Kills 96 In Zamfara and several in six other states

When the news of cholera outbreak in Zamfara was first broken in mid October, I quickly searched my document library for the various water projects in Nigeria, recalling that I had just read about Zamfara’s commendable investment in potable water.

The state committed  seven billion Naira  in April of this year for the provision of water.  However, the announcement of the huge fund committed to water supply failed to give any hint on what the state intended to do on sanitation. It is therefore interesting to learn in October that the consumption of polluted water in this same state  lead to the demise of 96 people and the illness of more than 500 people in this state.

  It is commonly acknowledged that potable  water provision without sanitation usually fails to have desired health impact. For example, Esrey, S. A., et al (1991) compiled a table that was based on ‘Rigorous Studies’ on Expected Reductions in Diarrhea Disease Morbidity From Improvements in One or More Components  of Water and Sanitation. Thus for water and sanitation, there is 30% reduction; for sanitation, the reduction is 36%; for water quality and quantity, the reduction is 17%; for water quality, the reduction is 15%; for water quantity, the reduction is 20%; for hygiene, the reduction is 33%. In essence sanitation has the highest reduction and Zamfara and other states in Nigeria need to devote equal attention to sanitation delivery whenever they are planning and budgeting for improvement in  water supply.

It is also necessary to note that the three tiers of governments in the country should aggressively promote behaviourial change among low-income families and slum dwellers in order to reap the desired impacts of any of their water supply and sanitation investments.

I’ve pasted below most of the newspaper articles  on cholera in October 2013. What is painful about the current outbreak of cholera is that The Federal Government  is in denial about the number of people who lost their lives – it reported that Plateau State claimed, on October 21, that “…only three people, not eight died from the illness.” This is in contrast to the figure quoted Daily Newswatch of October 30 that Jang said eleven people were confirmed dead, while 136 others were infected by cholera.

Finally, Daily Newswatch of October 30, 2013 reported that 6 states battle cholera in the country. This is really not good enough when one considers the various capital outlays on water by all three tiers of government  in the country.

DEPO ADENLE.

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Cholera Kills 96 In Zamfara

by Abba Abubakar Kabara, Leadership,  October 10, 2013

About 96 people mostly children were allegedly killed in two weeks by cholera outbreak in Zamfara State, while over 500 more victims are currently said to be receiving the attention of Medicine Sans Frontiers (MSF).

Though the permanent secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr Umar Lawal, has confirmed the epidemic outbreak, he however declined to confirm the number of those killed so far.

LEADERSHIP gathered that the incident resulted from the consumption of polluted water. Water is scarce especially in the state capital Gusau.

A source revealed that Maradun, Anka, Bungudu and Gusau local government areas were seriously affected with the highest record of death toll following water scarcity that allegedly compelled the local communities to resort to the use of ponds as major sources of water.

MSF was invited to Shagari Hospital in Gusau, where the construction of temporary camps for the treatment of victims is currently ongoing, to pay urgent medical attention to over 70 affected persons.

Though journalists were denied access to the temporary treatment camps, a woman who was in-charge of MSF said there had been a directive from a certain quarter not to release any piece of information pertaining to the level of disaster.

Another source from Maradun and Bungudu local government areas contended that the death toll had risen to 11 and 17 respectively, adding that the situation is growing worse as more victims were getting infected.

The state commissioner of health, Alhaji Kabiru Janyau, who confirmed the incident on phone, also declined to mention the officially recorded cases of deaths from the epidemic. He said the outbreak was actually caused by the consumption of contaminated water by the affected communities.

Kabir said his ministry had already dispatched teams of medical officers to all the volatile areas to ensure that the situation was brought under control.

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Nigeria government begins investigation of cholera outbreak in Plateau village

Published: October 21,2013

The Plateau State Government said only three people, not eight have died from the illness.

The Federal Ministry of Health is to begin investigations into the suspected outbreak of cholera in Namu Village in the Qua’pan Local Government Area of Plateau, an official of the ministry has said.

Akin Oyemakinde, the Chief Consultant Epidemiologist in the ministry, told the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Abuja that the investigation would determine the kind of intervention to be deployed to the community.

“The ministry is already aware of the outbreak of cholera in Plateau and has sent some team of experts to carry out proper investigations,” he said.

“After the investigation, we will have a comprehensive detail of the situation and the necessary interventions deployed to the areas.”

Mr. Oyemakinde assured that the ministry was on top of the situation and would ensure that it curtailed the spread of the disease.

An epidemiologist in Plateau, Raymond Yuryit, had confirmed the death of eight people with 61 others hospitalised since the outbreak of the epidemic in the state.

Mr. Yuryit said those hospitalised had been diagnosed with the disease and admitted in various health centres. He attributed the outbreak to overcrowding, dirty environment and consumption of unhygienic food and water.

While the federal government says it is aware of the cholera outbreak, authorities in Plateau say it is yet to be confirmed.

The Director, Primary Healthcare of the Plateau State Ministry of Health, Ibrahim Gontu, made the disclosure on Monday in an interview with PREMIUM TIMES.

According to the medical expert, epidemiologists from the ministry, currently at Namu, had sent in preliminary reports, saying that they were yet to confirm the incidence of cholera. They, however, noted that there were cases of diarrhoea and vomiting among patients.

Mr. Gontu attributed the situation to the increase in human population within the area, due to the presence of refugees from Nasarawa State.

The Plateau State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, about a month ago, said that about 7, 000 people were displaced from Nasarawa.

“You know that there is a tremendous increase in the human population in Quanpan, particularly in Namu; of course, the sanitary condition of the area will change. That is why there are reported cases of diarrhoea and vomiting, especially among children. But the Ministry has sent in medical experts to take control of the situation, and they have said that it was not a cholera outbreak,” Mr. Gontu said.

The official also disputed the reports that eight people were killed by the “cholera outbreak.”

According to him, only three people have died since the onset of the incident. He said that drugs and other preventive materials have been taken to the affected areas.

Mr. Gontu also advised that people should observe more sanitary habits, particularly when cooking.

PREMIUM TIMES, however, gathered that there has been a shortage of potable water in the areas inhabited by the refugees; and very few of the refugees have been able to find habitable shelter.

Cholera kills five in Sokoto, says health official

Published: October 21,2013

All the deceased persons were aged between 27 and 30 years.

The Deputy Director of Health of Tambuwal Local Government Area of Sokoto State, Bala Oroji, said on Monday that five persons died of suspected cholera at Barkeji Village in the area.

Mr. Oroji announced this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Tambuwal.

He said that all the deceased persons were aged between 27 and 30 years.

Mr. Oroji said that three persons, one female and two males died on October 14, out of nine infected.

”Similarly, a male and female died on October 19 due to the epidemic, out of the remaining infected persons,” he said.

He said that 11 infected persons were hospitalised at the Barkeji community dispensary on Sunday.

According to him, four of the affected persons have been discharged on Monday, while the remaining seven on admission at the health centre are still receiving treatment.

He said that adequate drugs and medicament had been supplied to the dispensary by the local government.

”We thank God that the situation is under control and we are even expecting to discharge the remaining infected persons either today or tomorrow,” he added.

He said that the local government had embarked on massive public enlightenment campaign to educate the people on the need to maintain good sanitary environment.

”The campaign is to sensitise the people to the need to keep their environment clean, drink clean water and also ensure personal hygiene.

”We have reported the incident to the state Ministry of Health and it had assisted the community with additional drugs,” he said.

(NAN)

Cholera Kills 96 In Zamfara

By: Abba Abubakar Kabara on October 10, 2013 – 5:09am

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About 96 people mostly children were allegedly killed in two weeks by cholera outbreak in Zamfara State, while over 500 more victims are currently said to be receiving the attention of Medicine Sans Frontiers (MSF).

Though the permanent secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr Umar Lawal, has confirmed the epidemic outbreak, he however declined to confirm the number of those killed so far.

LEADERSHIP gathered that the incident resulted from the consumption of polluted water. Water is scarce especially in the state capital Gusau.

A source revealed that Maradun, Anka, Bungudu and Gusau local government areas were seriously affected with the highest record of death toll following water scarcity that allegedly compelled the local communities to resort to the use of ponds as major sources of water.

MSF was invited to Shagari Hospital in Gusau, where the construction of temporary camps for the treatment of victims is currently ongoing, to pay urgent medical attention to over 70 affected persons.

Though journalists were denied access to the temporary treatment camps, a woman who was in-charge of MSF said there had been a directive from a certain quarter not to release any piece of information pertaining to the level of disaster.

Another source from Maradun and Bungudu local government areas contended that the death toll had risen to 11 and 17 respectively, adding that the situation is growing worse as more victims were getting infected.

The state commissioner of health, Alhaji Kabiru Janyau, who confirmed the incident on phone, also declined to mention the officially recorded cases of deaths from the epidemic. He said the outbreak was actually caused by the consumption of contaminated water by the affected communities.

Kabir said his ministry had already dispatched teams of medical officers to all the volatile areas to ensure that the situation was brought under control.

– See more at: http://leadership.ng/news/101013/cholera-kills-96-zamfara#sthash.ivbINfKE.dpuf

Adamawa Community celebrates first ever water well

It is really a shame that this Nigerian community has suffered for too long from lack of access to potable water. It is at the same time painful to learn that Palam community has to celebrate the sinking of the “first ever water well” (hand-dug well). This should not happen to any community in a country awash with petrol dollar.

Nigeria collects millions of US dollars daily from sale of petroleum. But this gets squandered on bogus salaries, wasteful purchases such as several official cars, at times air planes for the executive in each state, houses, inflated allowances for government officials and politicians at the three tiers of government, etc. When the funds are not squandered on profligate purchases, they are embezzled through corrupt practices by both government officials and politicians at the expense of the citizens’ welfare. Premium Times on July 27, 2012 reported  the monumental fraud in the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) funds at the Federal Ministry of Water Resources .

It has been said at informal discussions that the security vote of a governor for a year should be enough to improve access to potable water in any state. If this is so, one would like to know how much the Governor of Adamawa collects yearly as security vote.

Furthermore, the Economist recently published a comparative table on how Nigeria’s politicians are over paid in comparison with politicians in the USA and some other first world countries as shown in the quotation below;

“Rewarding work

More than they deserve? – The Economist, July 20, 2013

 

IN TIMES of austerity, awarding yourself a fat pay rise goes down badly. An independent body’s suggestion that British lawmakers’ salaries should rise from £66,396 ($105,400) to £74,000 in 2015 has prompted a media firestorm, even though perks such as a generous pension scheme would be slimmed down.

 British MPs earn around 2.7 times the country’s GDP per person, on a par with many rich countries. But their basic pay is parsimonious by other states’ standards, and defining fairness is tricky.

 Lawmakers in poorer countries in Africa and Asia enjoy the largest salaries relative to GDP. Voters have noticed. Earlier this year, furious Kenyan demonstrators burned 221 coffins outside parliament in a row over the pay and benefits awarded to Kenyan MPs (known for their self-indulgence). Last month MPs lowered their salaries but still managed to secure themselves a $58,000 car grant.

 Italian legislators enjoy one of the lushest deals in Europe, including free transport. Indian MPs are ill-paid, but rewarded for their work with beautiful but decrepit bungalows in the swankiest parts of Delhi; these are a far cry from the uninviting dormitories in which Japanese lawmakers from outside Tokyo must live. An odd feature of Thai politics is that the governing party’s MPs are paid more than those of the opposition. America appears notably stingy. Senators have had no pay rise since 2009, though this is perhaps less tragic when their often staggering personal wealth is considered. What about payment by results: salaries go up when GDP does?”

Comments by DEPO ADENLE

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Adamawa Community celebrates first ever water well

by Ibrahim Abdul’aziz, Premium Times, July 23, 2013

Residents of the community had been getting their water supply from ponds.

The residents of Palam in Shuwa area of Madagali Local Government in Adamawa State now have their first major source of water, a well.

Ponds and small-scale irrigation reservoirs, situated several kilometres from where the residents of the community live, have been the main sources of drinking water for the community.

The residents, though entitled to better quality and clean water provided by the government, were grateful that after decades of trekking long distances to get water to drink, a well had been sunk in their community.

They commended the Shuwa Development Area administration for sinking the well and rehabilitating the washed away portion of the road that links the community to other villages.

A cross section of the people who spoke on Monday at the inauguration of a culvert linking the area that was destroyed by recent flood expressed happiness at the development.

“We have suffered because of the destroyed road but now things have changed for the better,” a resident, Yahaya Ahmadu, said.

“For decades we don’t have well, nor boreholes; we trek for kilometres to fetch water from ponds where our domestic animals drink.

“We want to thank the Administrator of Shuwa Development Area for his prompt response in rehabilitating our affected road and culvert,” Mr. Ahmadu said.

Another resident, Joy Ibrahim, while expressing joy over the road rehabilitation said that transportation has been made easy for them.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the well and the road on Monday, the Administrator of Shuwa Development Area, Sule Duhu, said his administration would continue to remain committed in discharging its responsibility to the people.

Mr. Duhu lauded the contribution of the community in providing free labour particularly for the culvert project.

Day Orile Owu community got treated borehole water

Orile Owu was one of the beneficiaries of EU Water supply and Sanitation Sector Reform Programme (EU WSSSRP) small town water schemes in 2011.

The EU-WSSSRP in Osun State attempted to rehabilitate the small town water supply  scheme in Orile Owu by re-constructing  a dam axis in place of the one that had been washed away. The EU-WSSSRP also rehabilitated the treatment plant, the pipe distribution net work, the electrical and mechanical installations. However, the contractor employed for the project did a poor job of the construction of the earth dam and the dam failed. He was not paid for the dam construction. This is why the people of Orile Owu have not been able to access potable water from the State of Osun Water Corporation water supply scheme there.

As narrated in the newspaper article below NEST should be commended for what it has done. In addition the people of Orile Owu should be congratulated for what they received – potable water  free of charge. They should however take good care of it.

No mention was made of how the borehole will be managed in a sustainable way. It is just not good enough to provide a borehole water scheme.

DEPO ADENLE

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Day Orile Owu community got treated borehole water

Nigerian Tribune, by  Doyin Adeoye, , Wednesday, 19 June 2013

With the gesture of the Nigerian Environmental Study Action Team (NEST) on June 6, dwellers of Orile Owu community, Ayedaade Local Government Area of Osun State, breathed a sigh of relief over the extensive scarcity of treated water they had been battling with in years past.

Focused on promoting research and publications on the environment, as well as raising public awareness of environmental and sustainable development issues, among other objectives, NEST is a not-for profit organisation involved with environment and sustainable development in Nigeria, with a general global interest.

In line with this, as part of its African Adaptation Project (AAP), the organistation recently donated two boreholes to the remote community of Orile Owu, ending the plight of water scarcity among the people.

Commenting on the gesture, the High Chief of Orile Owu, Akogun Yaya Akintunde, appreciated the effort of the organisation, urging other NGOs to try and emulate this attitude, “I really appreciate the NEST, for deeming it fit to provide solutions to the challenges of acute water shortage faced by people of Orile Owu. It is highly soothing to me and the people of the community at large, to be able to have running pure, uncontaminated, germ free, tasteless and colourless drinking water in our community,” he said.

Chief Yaya further added that prior to the project,  the adverse effect of water scarcity in the community, cannot be overemphasised, noting that the people had to rely on the water from the stream for drinking purposes and other necessities.

“We have appealed to the government on many occassions, for potable drinking water to be made available to us and we were assured that work was in progress, which is yet to be completed. So NEST doing this for us, comes as a relief.”

The Chief, however, advised the people to endeavour to maintain the boreholes wisely.

The chairman, NEST, Professor David Okali, in an interview, said the AAP is one of the oragnisation’s focus on climate change, as an aspect of the environment.

“These gestures are means of combating the effect of climate change on the society and one of the missions of NEST is to empower people at all social and economic levels for sustainable interactions with the environment,” he said.

Buttressing this, the Executive Director of the organisation, Professor Chinedum Nwajiuba, said the aim of the organisation was to extend the project to some other states across the country.

“AAP is funded by the Japanese government through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Nigeria and through the Department of Climate Change in Nigeria. The objective is to do a practical adaptation project in seven locations in Nigeria, that is six states, including the FCT.

“This has been going on for a little over a year now and such projects have been commissioned in Cross River, Gombe, Kwara States and today in Osun State. That leaves us with Imo, FCT and Kogi States.

“The projects in Osun, Kwara, Imo, FCT and Kogi States are based on water, while that of Gombe State is based on Moringa production and in Cross River State, it is on fish farming.”

Also present at the event were the Balogun of Orile Owu, Chief Saka Lawau; Olosi of Orile Owu, Chief Salau Olaniyi; the Iyalode of Orile Owu, Mrs Suliat Ogundele; Counselor, Ward 9, Honourable Adebisi Olubuka and the beaming villagers.

Water Scarcity Protest: Soldiers shot Four Nassarawa students dead

Water Scarcity Protest: Soldiers shot Four Nassarawa students dead

soldiers

Picures of soldiers used to quell students’ protest that resulted in the death of four of their colleagues.  [Credit:  saharareporters.com]

 INTRODUCTION

There are well over a hundred universities in Nigeria today and going by information as well as what one sees around on the few universities in urban centers where students can be found carrying buckets of water or empty ones around, it seems time that approvals for setting up universities in Nigeria should not just be based on the strength of academic staff, adequate provision of building facilities for staff and students, etc. but that  adequate provision of water for immediate and projected population of a proposed university must be an important item to be check-marked for approval to be granted.

Most government institutions are often built without adequate provision of water. This usually leads to poor sanitation on campus. This is not limited to institutions of higher learning but also secondary schools, etc

https://weircentreforafrica.com/2013/02/22/governments-at-federal-state-and-local-government-levels-encourage-open-defecation/

For example, the failure to provide students with adequate water has now resulted in the deaths of four students who had joined others in protesting scarcity of water at Nassarawa State  University, a protest that was met with undue force by soldiers.

 Using soldiers to maintain peace in any community in a democracy is not the right thing to do. Soldiers are trained to fight wars, while the police is used for maintaining law and order. I sympathize with the parents of the students whose lives were cut short as a result of this. Water should be part of the basic human rights of any civilized community and protest to access  it should not lead to death.

 The story below is from Premium Times and Sahara Reporters.

 DEPO ADENLE

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(PHOTOS) Soldiers Shoot Four University Students Dead In Nassarawa-PREMIUM TIMES

By Nnenna Ibeh

Four students of Nassarawa State University were on Monday shot by security operatives during a protest over water scarcity in the institution.

The victims were among the hundreds of students who protested against the scarcity of electricity and water in the school. During the protest, some soldiers invaded the school and started firing shots which left four students dead, a witness said.

Nassarawa State Police Command spokesperson, Michael Ada, confirmed the killing of the students but denied that they were shot by police officers.
He said the commissioner of police in the state was already at the scene.

Institutional Issues in Water Supply & Sanitation and their role in the attainment of MDGs in Nigeria

Pardon the messy posting a moment ago.  Undergoing editing to correct formatting. Will be re-posted by tomorrow, Saturday, September 22.  DEPO.

Communities find water, decades after

Communities find water, decades after

By Chris Oji

The Nation, 01/06/2012

The days of thirst are over. So is the era of trekking for kilometers on end just to find water.

For the people of Umuika-Enuogo Nkerefi community in Nkanu East Local Government Area, Enugu State, it is a whole new world.

The community had been without water for decades. Sourcing good water took over many kilometers, making the liquid even more precious than crude oil or gold.

But now, their agony is over. A borehole scheme initiated under 2009 MDG/CGS water projects has been completed and inaugurated by the state government.

The handing over of the water project to the Umuika– Enuogo Nkerefi community has brought to an end decades of water scarcity in the community and its neighbouring communities.

Speaking at the handover ceremony, the Managing Director of Enugu State Rural Water supply and Sanitation Agency (En-RUWASSA), Mr. Mike Cole Oguamah stated that the stream impoundment at Nkerefi was a pilot project developed by the Enugu State government as an alternative to providing safe drinking water to communities all the year round.

He said a geological survey had shown that construction of deep motorised boreholes would not be feasible, while shallow boreholes always dry up during the dry season.

Oguamah disclosed that the project has a concrete reservoir and overhead tank with a capacity of about 100,000 cubic metres of water, intake, treatment and filtration plants as well as reticulated to about 3km from the reservoir.

He explained that with time, reticulation would be extended to other parts of the community.

He charged the water management committee to ensure that everybody had access to the water as well as  to make sure that all the clans that made up Enuogu-Nkerefi were represented in the committee, and that the security of the project must never be compromised.

The benefitting communities expressed their joy as they saw water in their neighbourhood. They thanked Governor Sullivan Chime.

Handing over the water scheme to the community, the commissioner for Budget and Planning and chairman of MDG Oversight Committee, Dr. K. O. Agbowo stated that since Enugu State government spent huge amounts of money to build the water scheme at no cost to the community, it is now left for the community to devise the best way to raise money to maintain the project.

Agbowo pointed out that the project would not only serve the community’s water needs but would also reduce drastically the incidents of water-borne diseases which were present in the area and the medical expenses the villagers incur as a result of such diseases.

Other neighbouring communities that requested for the extension of the water to their villages were informed by the commissioner that water was for all but they should liaise first with the water management committee to discuss the modalities for the extension in “the spirit of Governor Sullivan Chime’s desire to provide safe drinking water to the people of Enugu State.

The Umuika-Enuogo Nkerefi community through the chairman of the water management committee, Mr. Kingsley Ogbu expressed gratitude to the state government for citing the project, the first of its kind in their community.

He said that before now the the issue of safe drinking water had been a nightmare to the community against the background that it was a guinea worm endemic community

MY COMMENTS

This is good news for the Umuika-Enuogo Nkerefi community.

However, the way this is reported leaves one wondering whether this scheme is a borehole-based water supply scheme or a surface water-based scheme. This needs to be clarified.

Secondly, from the report, it appears there was no wide consultation in the community before the project was conceived, planned, developed and constructed as implied in the words of the Planning and Chairman of MDG Oversight Committee, Dr. K. O. Agbowo:

“…since Enugu State government spent huge amounts of money to build the water scheme at no cost to the community, it is now left for the community to devise the best way to raise money to maintain the project.”

If the community was properly consulted before the construction of this scheme, post- construction operation and maintenance system of the scheme would have been put in place. It would not have been necessary for Dr. Agbowo to inform the community during the handing- over ceremony that the community has to devise the best way to raise money to maintain the project. The cart was put before the horse.

In similar donor-assisted projects, a Water Consumers Association (WCA)  or Community Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Committees (WASHCOMS) would have been formed that would be responsible for collecting tariff  and maintenance of this project so that it would not end up abandoned like most other government projects that were executed using a top-down approach.

A factor that has been identified for failure of water supply schemes is that communities do not have a sense of ownership when they do not contribute towards a project.

However little, it is important if the Umuika-Enuogo Nkerefi community had contributed something towards this project in order to guarantee the success of this project.