Category Archives: Water and Sanitation

Nigeria’s waste disposal challenges: The case of Lagos.

The world is drowning in ever-growing mounds of garbage by Kevin Sieff, Washington Post, Nov. 21, 2017

Below are the highlights of the Washington Post article on “The world is drowning in ever-growing mounds of garbage” with focus on Lagos Nigeria by DEPO ADENLE.

  • Lagos population was 7 million in 1992 and has tripled.
  • Waste disposal site location was based on remoteness  from population. This is the practice in Nigeria.
  • The first waste disposal site discussed in this article is Olusosun which is directly off the main highway near the overhead bridge exit to Ikorodu, and from which a whiff of burning trash sometimes blows across the city’s standing traffic jams. This blogger experienced the usual burning sensation in this area as you enter Lagos in those days.
  • In 2017, Lagos had two outbreaks of Lassa fever, a sometimes deadly virus, spread by rodent urine or feces that has been linked to poor sanitation. The Lassa fever outbreak in Lagos is more as result of people living in shacks built around this garbage disposal site. The outbreaks of Lassa fever in other parts of Nigeria were in areas that are remote from waste disposal sites but characterized by high population density and very poor sanitation and hygiene.
  • Landfill/waste disposal sites are usually not chosen on the basis of Environmental Impact Assessment. The story of Bariga in the Washington Post article being discussed gives an insight into how waste disposal sites are chosen – not on the basis of planning but convenience. The case of Bariga is also discussed.
  • With the city’s population surging, some of the city’s coastal slums had run out of usable land and started filling in swampy areas with rubbish. Residents of one community, Bariga, agreed a few years ago to allow garbage collectors to use their neighborhood as a dumpsite. They took the trash and extended their property into the bay, covering it with sawdust and building homes on top. Walking on Bariga’s reclaimed land feels like balancing on a trampoline, the ground sinking slightly beneath your feet with each step”.
  • While one cannot fault the author of this article it is doubtful if any Nigerian will build houses on refuse dumps. They may build shacks which are made up of wooden poles and plastic sheets or any other material that can shield them from the environment.
  • A documentary produced by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) in Nigeria highlights how high rentals and poverty in Lagos, one of the fastest growing cities on the continent, have driven thousands of residents to build shacks at “Dustbin Estate,” a slum in Awodiora, Ajeromi Ifelodun, to the west of Lagos. (Lagos slum residents live among garbage at “Dustbin Estate” – UrbanAfrica.Net, April 2013.
  • The author of the article noted that Lagos has reacted to its waste challenges by treating it as opportunity and has built a local/international garbage economy—“Across the city, local entrepreneurs and international businesses have opened sorting and recycling plants that export plastics, metals and paper to China and India”.
  • But recently the government has come up with a new plan.
  • It has identified a new dump site in the city of Badagry, 40 miles from Olusosun. It would be a world away, hidden from the growing city, at least in the short term.
  • “It won’t be another eyesore,” promised Adejare, the environment min
  • One issue that was not addressed in the report is the probable impact of waste disposal in landfills that are not scientifically constructed on groundwater quality.

The link to the full article is –



Urban gate-guarded communities’ water supply woes: Bangalore (India) vis-avis Lagos communities (Nigeria)

People who live in urban gate-guarded communities are affluent and can afford the cost of providing necessary amenities for their families. In Nigeria, the attraction of such highbrow communities usually centers around three considerations: adequate security, water supply and uninterrupted power supply.

These same considerations apply in India.

People who live in Bangalore, a gate-guarded community, are rich IT professionals, hence the reference to it as India’s “Silicon Valley”. They want and can afford the best for their families. In Nigeria the population of such communities is mixed consisting of successful young professionals and entrepreneurs.

What got this blogger interested in this topic was the short video provided by the BBC News on Bangalore, the ‘Indian silicon valley’. As a result of the increasing population pressure, the water supply in this community has reached breaking point.

This situation is the subject of the BBC video, Bangalore water woes: India’s Silicon Valley dries up. The web link to the the BBC video:


And the subtitles of each frame are given below:

  • This is the first city in India which has actually physically run out of water.
  • Morning rush hour and these tankers take over Bangalore streets.
  • They are carrying precious commodity – water.
  • If we don’t supply water then there is no water for them.
  • Earlier these used to be wetlands.
  • At that time we were getting water at a depth of 300 feet.
  • Now it is 1,400 t0 1,500 feet.
  • Thousands of tankers haul millions of litres of water across Bangalore daily.
  • Bangalore is one of India’s fastest growing cities, its Silicon Valley.
  • But its traditional water sources are drying up and are also contaminated.
  • So many people now depend on water delivered by private tankers controlled by cartels sometimes called “water mafia”.
  • I would think in some form it does operate like a cartel but it’s something nobody wants to talk about openly.
  • Software professional Subir Bose lives in an upmarket gated complex.
  • Like the other 200 families here, he’s at the mercy of tanker operators.
  • Yes we are still getting water but the quality of water is suspect.
  • The negotiations have become tougher with them because the rates are going higher.
  • Bangalore has 400,000 bore wells diminishing its ground water.
  • It is estimated that about 400 t0 500 million litres of water must be extracted every day.

Mr. S. Vishwanath, a conservationist, says in conclusion of the video that “So if bore wells dry out the city starts to lose its lifeline. So the crisis is how to revive and keep these bore wells alive. Bangalore has been in water management since 1890s. So it needs to start to become a pioneer once again to solve the crisis that grips it”.

Currently the situation in Nigeria, i.e. heavy dependence on water tankers in high brow communities, is not caused by population pressure on the groundwater resources. Rather, it is caused by not paying due attention to proper water supply borehole location vis-à-vis location of onsite sanitation, poor borehole construction practices and skimping on borehole cost which is necessitated by having to drill down to up to 200 to 300 meters as noted by a Nigerian news-site,, which states that if people in gate-guarded communities in Lagos want to have access to potable water without depending on groundwater they have to buy water from water tankers or drill deep boreholes.

In the case of Bangalore, the exponential increase in the number of boreholes necessary for the exploding population of this affluent community and the lowering of the water table to a point where groundwater abstraction cost becomes prohibitive has resulted in huge dependence on water tankers which calls for proper management of the groundwater resources in order to wean it from dependence on water tankers.

Lagos Island, where the highbrow communities are located, is characterized by:

  1. Shallow water-table.
  2. Absence of centralized sewerage system, hence the use of septic tank system for the disposal of household and human wastes.
  3. These septic tanks are usually about 3 meters deep.
  4. High cost of drilling deep boreholes (200-300 meters deep) which many household cannot afford.

P.S. Ola, O.M. Bankole and A.Y.B. Anifowose (2010) describe the area as having a complex lithology of alternating sequence of sand and clay deposits  up to a depth of about 270m. They delineated seven aquifer horizons at the following depths: 3-10m; 40-70m; 60-100m; 110-140m; 150-180m; 178-210m and 212- 240m, corresponding to aquifer thicknesses of 15-25m, 15-30m; 10-45m; 20-40m; 10-42m; 10-30m and 20-45m respectively.

If above four characteristics are considered each on its own or jointly for example, two of them, especially ‘1’ and ‘3’, they may be responsible for why water supply boreholes in Lagos Island area cannot be relied upon as a source of potable water for the following reasons:

  • Pathways through contamination from on-site sanitation can reach groundwater supplies are through the main body of the aquifer and pathways created by the design and construction of the water supply boreholes. These are called localized pathways.
  • As indicated above these areas are in the unconsolidated recent sediments. Aquifer vulnerability with respect to its contamination in Lagos Island will be a function of the intrinsic characteristics of this geologic terrain.  This vulnerability is dependent on travel time for water to move from ground surface to the water table. It is necessary to note that the water table of the near surface aquifer in this area is shallow. The greater the travel time the greater the opportunity for containment attenuation, hence the need for reliance on deep boreholes, and in addition great lateral distances between on-site sanitation and water supply boreholes will also offer the opportunity for containment attenuation. The latter requirement to ensure long travel time is a luxury in these areas because of the ubiquitous presence  of septic tanks.

Most of the gate-guarded communities on Lagos Island claim to have central water supply equipped with water treatment plants. The prices of properties are really high and one would expect that such communities would have top quality communal services, but some do not.

A company called Neighbourhood Review provides information on some of the Lagos communities, such as Greenland Estate, Cooperative Villa Estate, Femi Okunnu Estate, Cadogan Estate, Igbo Effon Estate, Royal Garden Estate, Thomas Estate,  Marshy Hills Estate and Chevy View Estate to mention a few.

Here are two of the reviews:

“Cooperative Villa Estate: The estate has a water supply unit but was not functional at the time of this review. All houses in the estate have their boreholes and reservoirs.

Femi Okunnu: The estate has a water supply unit but was not functional at the time of this review. All houses in the estate have their boreholes and reservoirs”.

Lessons learnt in the case of Bangalore are summarized above by Mr. S. Vishwanath, a conservationist, who recommends adequate water resources management. While in the case of Lagos Island, transparency concerning claims on infrastructural provision by the estate developers is necessary, especially with respect to provision of communal services.

Finally, there is a need for proper water supply borehole construction and effective public awareness concerning borehole location vis-à-vis on-site sanitation.


Open Defecation in Nigeria an Overview/Teachers resort to open defecation in Katsina

Open Defecation in Nigeria an Overview

According Wikipedia, about one billion people practice open defecation in the developing world or 15% of the global population. India tops the developing countries with 47% (600 million) of its population practicing open defecation, followed by Indonesia (54 million), Pakistan (41 million), and Nigeria in the fourth position with 39 million people practicing open defecation.

Open defecation cannot but be the common practice to ease oneself in Nigeria where toilet facilities are not provided in schools – primary, secondary and even tertiary as well as in public places like markets and motor parks.

Every state in Nigeria has a Water and Sanitation Agency (WATSAN) or an institution that handles sanitation. If Kastina has an agency like this, one wonders why the situation concerning sanitation is as bad as reported below. Kastina was part of Kaduna State, thus when it was created from the latter it will surely have a sanitation agency. Kaduna State WATSAN in its move to end open defecation sensitized 28 communities in January 2014 (NAN, 22 January 2014).

The fifth phase of War Against Indiscipline (WAI) of the Buhari/Idiagbon regime of 19983 -85 is on Environmental Sanitation. One cannot forget the fact that late Tai Solarin virtually cried his voice hoarse against defecating or urinating in the open. He lamented that every inch of the roadside in Nigeria has been defecated or urinated on. In order to wage total war on open defecation it will be necessary, in addition to Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS), to relaunch WAI by the current Buhari Administration, because urinating or defecating in the open is due to indiscipline.


Teachers resort to open defecation in Katsina

Class three pupils in Kamfanin Mailafiya Primary School, Faskari LGA, Katsina State.

The Katsina State Committee on Education set up by the government has presented its report which raised some damning revelations about the deplorable condition of primary schools across the state.
Government had constituted the committee in a move to get the true picture of what is obtainable at the basic level of education with a view to finding ways of improving the education sector.
The report presented by the chairman, Dr Badamasi Charanci, uncovered several shortcomings that urgently need to be addressed to move the sector forward.
According to the report, 2,262 primary schools across the state were used for the baseline data study in which 50 per cent of them lacked toilets as students and teachers resort to open defection.
A shortfall of furniture in the report was seen all over as about 622,390 pupils were recorded to have no chairs and desks; they sat on bare floors to take lessons. In Katsina town alone, 47,000 pupils sit on the floors and about 794 of the schools were in pitiful condition, while 1,319 needed minor repairs.
Additional 7,554 teachers are urgently needed to be employed to meet the standard of three classrooms per five teachers. Already, there are 19,833 primary school teachers out of which 4,996 are females.
There is also the need for additional 3,000 classrooms to accommodate the large number of pupils in both urban and rural areas.
A visit to one of the schools in Faskari Local Government revealed overcrowded classrooms which makes teaching and learning frustrating. Some classes that should not have more than 35 pupils had close to 80 with majority sitting on floors while as many as five pupils sit on benches meant for three pupils.
The appalling situation can be seen in virtually all the schools across the state. Some experts said nothing tangible can be achieved in the education sector giving the gloomy picture presented by the report which has made basic primary education difficult to acquire.  There was poor ergonomic design of classroom chairs in most schools.
According to the coordinator of Partnership for the Development of Education in the state Zakari Ya’u Doka, primary education had suffered enough over time, saying that there was a serious neglect of primary schools by the government.
An educationist, Dr Muhammad Kado, said the education sector must be rejuvenated to meet global requirement and the effort being made by government in that direction was laudable.
According to him “we at the private sector are fully in support of these motives, well meaning stride considering what quality education means to any form of human development.
Governor Aminu Masari said Katsina State, which led in the Northern region in terms of education, has over the years lost that status and efforts must be made to move the state forward.
He said recent students’ results released by examination bodies including WAEC, NECO and JAMB were so poor and not acceptable.
“We are not here to play politics; the sorry state of education in Katsina is beyond partisan politics if we are serious to ensure total revival of the sector,” he said.
Some of the interim measures embarked on by the government to address the problems include; engagement of the services of department of education of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria (ABU) for training of teachers, improved welfare packages like car, housing loans and special headmaster’s holiday.

Aggressive Community Led Total Sanitation(CLTS):The Indian Approach

News Flash:

Indian city to pay residents to use public toilets instead of streets

An Indian city is implementing a new reward system where residents who use public toilets will be paid as an incentive to reduce the number of people urinating and defecating in the street.

The city council of the western city of Ahmedabad, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), is to pay one rupee for each visit to the public toilet. The city currently has 300 public toilets for a population of seven million people but many of the city’s residents choose to use public areas to relieve themselves, with walls reportedly smelling of urine.

“Once successful, the project will be implemented in all the 300 public toilets in Ahmedabad,” AMC health worker Bhavvik Joshi told AFP news agency.

Joshi added that the new reward scheme would be piloted at 67 public toilets in the city, which is the biggest in the state of Gujarat. Officers at the public toilets will hand a coin to each user.

Another official, AMC standing committee chairman Pravin Patel, told the news agency that those caught doing their business publicly on numerous occasions would be “identified and encouraged” to take up the payment offer and use the toilets instead.

“The idea behind this project is to prevent open defecation in parts of the city where people, despite having public toilets, defecate in the open,” Patel said.

Last October, on the birthday of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi announced a cleanliness drive, entitled Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission), to make the country’s roads and public spaces nicer places to be.

His vision is a five-year campaign to promote better hygiene among the population, which he described as “not politics, but patriotism”. He has also pledged to end open defecation by 2019, saying that sanitation is “more important than independence”.

Last year, the UN revealed that India is the country with the highest open defecation problem in the world, with 597 million people participating in the practice, representing 47% of the country’s total population.

A World Health Organisation (WHO) report released last year said that over half a billion people in India “continue to defecate in gutters, behind bushes or in open water bodies, with no dignity or privacy”.

Of the one billion who practice open defecation in the world, 825 million live in just 10 countries. Besides India, these countries are Indonesia (54 million), Pakistan (41 million), Nepal (11 million) and China (10 million), while the other five all emanate from Africa: Ethiopia, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria and Sudan.

Representatives from Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the AMC were not immediately available for comment.

Cholera in Nigeria: an update

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.


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 of the rainy season, Weekly Trust findings reveal.

The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed an outbreak of the infectious disease in 14 states, where it said 9,006 cases were reported, with 106 deaths in the first quarter of 2014, adding that the situation was not this critical last year. But state health officials say the casualty figures for the last three months could be much higher as some deaths that happened outside health facilities, which are many, are not officially reported, while many others do not even know the cause of death.

Cholera, according to experts, is an acute infectious disease caused by a bacterium, Vibrio cholerae (V. cholerae) which results in painless diarrhea (the main symptoms are watery stool and vomiting); and infection in most cases comes primarily from drinking water or eating food that has been contaminated by the faeces of an infected person, including one with no apparent symptoms.

The NCDC report shows that Bauchi, where 6,910 cases were reported with 48 deaths, is the worst hit of the 14 states; Kano had 1,270 cases with 16 deaths, while three of the 28 cases in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) ended in fatalities.In Kaduna State, 350 cases were recorded with 19 deaths, while four died from the 97 cases reported in Benue, six died in Taraba from the 190 cases reported and six again in Ebonyi from 16 recorded cases. The NCDC report said the lot of the country turned for the worst in the 12th week.

Between weeks 1 and 12 of 2014, 9,006 cholera cases with 81 lab-confirmed and 106 deaths from 58 local government areas (13 States and FCT) were reported. But Bauchi State Commissioner for health, Dr. Abubakar Sani Malami, told a news brief on Thrusday that 59 people died of cholera in the state in the last three months. He said 54 of them died in their homes and five in hospital. “The state recorded a high casualty figure because some of the victims were treating themselves at home,” he said.

Local health workers and Medicine San-Frontiers (MSF) told Weekly Trust in Zamfara that over 1,117 cholera cases were reported in at least five local government areas of the state within two weeks. These are Gusau, Durumi, Gukkuyum, Sakura and Maradu. At least 72 of the victims died of the infection, not including those who gave up the ghost before they could get medical help, local officials said. But reports by MSF indicate that the death toll from the epidemic could be as high as 350 people in Zamfara alone.

Hospital sources said about 90 fresh cases were reported at the Shagari Primary Health Care Center among other health facilities in the state this week alone. Many more are being expected. Balira Bello, who is receiving treatment at the Shagari facility, blamed her infection on the unavailability of clean drinking water to the people in the Birnin Ruwa area of Gusau, the state capital. Two other residents, Balkisu Mamman and Shafa’atu Garba, said they fetch their drinking water from broken pipes which usually pass through unsanitary environments.

One of the worst hit communities in Plateau State is Anguwan Yashi, in Namu area of Qua’an Pan Local Government Area, which recently saw the influx of thousands of refugees from neighbouring Nasarawa State fleeing from communal crisis, putting pressure on the only source of drinking water and other facilities in the village. The Plateau State government has confirmed that 11 people died of cholera while the community puts the casualty figure at more than 30. None could, however, dispute that over 100 people had been infected and treated from the disease. The district head of Namu, Alhaji Abubakar Sadiq, said mortality numbers have been down-played, adding that most of those killed by the scourge were women nursing their children. “Both indigenes of the village and the displaced have been affected because we now live together. And I can count over 10 of the indigenes that have died from this disease, including my brother’s wife, my neighbour and her daughter,” said Alhaji Abubakar Sadiq, the district head of Namu.

Others like 21-year-old Jane Botof in Rukuba, Bassa local government area were luckier. She suddenly took ill; vomiting and stooling. “What could this be?” her mother, Lilian Bot, wondered aloud; and driven by a growing panic, bundled her daughter into a commercial tricycle and was off to the nearest clinic. Thus, Jane’s was one of the 28 reported cases in the area last week. Three of the victims, one of them a pregnant woman, died chiefly because they got to the hospital late.

Cholera outbreaks were reported in several other parts of the state with no official records of cases, sometimes due to the remote nature of such locations or just because of the lackadaisical attitude of the people to health issues. At least two local areas of Sokoto State have experienced an outbreak of cholera this year, Tambuwal and kebbe, where scores of people have died of infection, investigations by Weekly Trust revealed. But the state government said only 13 out of the 152 cases reported there ended in fatalities. In Barkeji alone, a village located along Sokoto-Jega road in Tambuwal local government area where the disease was said to have first surfaced, 31 cases and five deaths were recorded between October 10 and October 21, officials said. In kebbe local government area, about 20 kilometres from Tambuwal, the disease resurfaced in six riverine communites, including Bakin Dutse, Tuna, ‘Yar-Romo, Nabasa, Fakku and Bashi, with eight deaths out of 121 cases reported.

Scores of people in Kano metropolis are now bedridden and agonizing as a result of the sudden outbreak of cholera in some parts of the state. The cholera epidemic struck the communities 10 days ago and has so far claimed the lives of over 12 persons.

In Lagos state cholera outbreak in five local government areas has so far claimed at least three persons, while scores of victims were treated and discharged, state commissioner for health, Dr. Jide Idris, said. “Although, many of the cases have been treated and discharged in several health facilities, three have been confirmed dead. Most of the suspected cases are from Ajeromi, Apapa, Lagos Island, Oshodi_Isolo and Surulere local government areas,” Idris said.

Health officials say cholera can be easily prevented by washing of hands frequently with soap and water for at least 15 seconds especially before handling food and after using the toilet; drinking and cooking with safe water that has been boiled and disinfected and avoiding eating raw food, taking food that is completely cooked and hot and avoiding improperly cooked seafood or meat, among other measures. “Especially in this period of the early onset of rain, a clean environment and lifestyle is key against cholera infection,” Plateau state epidemiologist, Dr. Raymond Juryit advised, adding that when cholera occurs, what determines safety of life is not seeking treatment in the wrong quarters, such as a chemist or arriving hospital late, but arriving hospital as quickly as when its symptoms manifest.

NCDC project manager, Prof. Abdulsalami Nasidi, said the federal government has deployed Rapid Response Teams to affected states to help contain the outbreak. He explained that drugs are being distributed to states to cushion the effects of the disease while chlorine powder has been also distributed to treat well water.


UNICEF Nigeria Cholera Situation Report – 10 February 2014
• As of 31 January 2014, 855 cholera cases (17 lab confirmed) and 20 deaths (Case Fatality Rate 3.3%) were reported from 28 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in 9 States. During the same period in 2013, no cases or deaths were reported.
• In the last three weeks an upward trend of cases has been observed compared to the same period in 2012 and 2013.
• In week four, 288 cases and 10 deaths were reported in four LGAs from Bauchi, Ebonyi, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Kano States. The majority of these cases, representing 79.5% (237/298), were reported in Bauchi from Bauchi LGA.
• In the on-going dry season, water sources have been stretched, contributing to the already low access to water and sanition. Only 58% of Nigeria’s population has access to water and sanitation, which poses a high risk for the spread of cholera cases to states which have not previously reported any cases (Fedral Ministry of Water Resources).
• No cases of cholera have been reported in Borno and Yobe so far this year, however during week one, Adamawa state reported one case. The risk of cholera outbreak in these states remains high given their precarious humanitarian situation (a State of Emergency has been declared in these areas). UNICEF and partners continue to support the government to strengthen coordination at State and LGA level, and intensify communication to raise awareness.

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.



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.


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.


Cholera Kills 96 In Zamfara

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


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:

Sokoto State to Commercialize Waste Disposal

Sokoto State’s plan to commercialize the disposal of waste in the State was made public by the State’s Commissioner for Environment with the Leadership Newspaper [Link below].  The plan has several commendable proposals and planned activities for ensuring that the people of the State enjoy a clean environment and good sanitation. The interviewee’s response focused on waste recycling, flood management and unwholesome hygiene practices (indiscriminate open defecation).


The State’s initiative concerning waste recycling targets the recycling of the ubiquitous polythene bags, which has become a nuisance in urban and rural settlements. This is a step in the right direction. The magnitude of the polythene bag menace can be appreciated especially after a heavy downpour in all our cities and rural communities when the streets are covered by heaps of polythene bags and drainage channels are clogged. 


The unsightly scenery caused by discarded polythene bags that are blown all over the place during the dry season is undesirable as polythene bags hang over barbed-wire fences, telecommunication poles, etc.


The strategy being used by Sokoto Ministry of Environment in combating the menace of discarded polythene bags involves using unemployed youths, building recycling plants and partnering with the Federal Government of Nigeria. This strategy ought to be replicated in states where there are no systems in place to address the challenges of disposing used polythene bags.


Another environmental challenge being handled by the Ministry of Environment in Sokoto is flood. As described by the Commissioner, the State is working with all stakeholders – the communities and Sokoto Rima Basin Development Authority (SRBDA) – in finding solutions to recurrent flood disasters in the State.  It is planned to have collaborative efforts, at mitigating flood impacts, between SRBDA and the State. The interviewee proposes to have some form of flood alert system. It also plans to intensify the state’s efforts on sensitizing the communities that live downstream of the major dams in the State. It intends to appeal to the RBDA to consider proper management of dam releases. This is essential for all owners of major dams in the country. 


The efforts of Sokoto State Government concerning stopping open defecation require a strategy that goes beyond mere provision of mobile toilets and enactment of Sanitation Law.  One of the key methods of tackling this problem is triggering Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) in every part of the State.  CLTS is already alive in Sokoto State. I was reliably informed that UNILEVER is already supporting CLTS in Kangiwa LGA.  The commissioner may not have been briefed about this before he gave the interview below.


Here is the link to the Leadership interview:


Governments at Federal, State and Local Government Levels Encourage Open Defecation

Governments at Federal, State and Local Government Levels Encourage Open Defecation.

The report below can be used as a template for government secondary schools, police barracks, army barracks and even Nigerian institutions of higher learning, the premier university, University of Ibadan included.

The population of our higher institutions has ballooned and for example the University of Ibadan (UI) which was under 4,000 in 1967 is now in the tens of thousands. Facilities for the institution have not grown at the same pace. In 1987/88 session in one female hostel at UI more than 5-6 students share one room which was meant for 2. One can imagine the kind of pressure put on the physical facilities.  Something similar has been happening in all government secondary schools as well as armed forces training colleges.At government secondary schools, at times flush toilets were provided in the eighties without adequate water supply. How do I know? My daughters attended one of them in the southwest.

In the words of late Tai Solarin there is hardly any inch of Nigerian soil that have not been p.. on. There is paucity of public toilets in urban centers. Candidly there are no public toilets in the major urban centers. Because of this “okada” drivers would park their motor bikes and do it wherever they feel the call of nature and wherever they can avoid public stare.

In conclusion, the monster of open defecation will refuse to leave us because of the following:

  • Government lack of focus and foresight.
  • Govt. attitude concerning planning as well as coordination.
  • Govt. approach at solving problems – fire-fighting approach.
  • Students’ attitude resulting from poor background in sanitation – lack of awareness about the dangers of open defecation during their formative years.

Our governments need to divert funds from street sweeping and other window dressing efforts, for example, to providing more public toilets in strategic points in urban centers. An activist of the progressive southwest mold told me that a government that sweeps streets without filling potholes has lost focus.



At Kaduna Police College, recruits defecate in bush

by Ismail Mudashir, Daily Trust , Friday, 25 January 2013

Recruit constables who passed out from the Police College, Kaduna recently, are unhappy with the deplorable condition of the premier police training institution in the country.

Established in1949, the Kaduna Police College is presently serving eight police commands in the country namely: Kano, Kaduna, Jigawa, Katsina, Zamfara, Niger, Plateau and the FCT. The college graduated over 4,484 recruits three weeks ago.

Daily Trust gathered that during the training that lasted for 15 months, the facilities at the college were over stretched. Over 200 recruits slept in a dormitory, and the same number shared five toilets.

As a result of the shortage of accommoda-tion, many of the recruits slept in the dining hall and classrooms. But those who were ‘connected’ secured accommodation in the college’s barrack.

A cross section of the recruits who are now serving in different police commands recounted their experiences at the college, and they were particular about the condition of their toilets.

One of them who spoke to our reporter said: “We thank God that we passed out without recording any outbreak of toilet related diseases because over 200 recruits shared five toilets in my dormitory. Some of us defecated in the bush because we were told it was safer.”

Another one said throughout the 15 months they were at the college, he did not eat food that was served by the police authority. He said because of the low standard of the meal, recruits labelled it as ‘Gapza’.

“I did not eat the meals they were serving us because in the morning they served us with watery beans as breakfast. In the afternoon and at nights, they interchanged ‘tuwo’ and ‘eba’ daily. That is what we were served with throughout the period of our training. I used to eat from commandant market,” another constable who passed out said.

When our correspondent entered the premises yesterday, recruits and college officials were seen carrying out sanitation exercise. Most of the dormitories were deserted; only about 100 recruits were on ground. The dirtiest place in the college is the laundry quarters, an instructor said.

“I cannot take you there but from afar you can perceive the pungent odour oozing from the gutter,” he added. According to him, the recruits seen at the college were made to repeat because they failed their final examination.

“These recruits are part of those that recently passed out. They failed their exam, that’s why they were held back,” he said. A junior police officer who spoke to Daily Trust said: “We embarked on this sanitation because of the unscheduled visit of President Goodluck Jonathan to the Lagos Police College. We here do not want to be caught unaware, hence the sanitation.”

All efforts to speak with the authorities of the college was not successful. The spokesman, ASP Mohammed Sani, did not pick several calls put across to his handset. Also attempt by the correspondent to see the acting commandant of the college was unsuccessful as security men at the entrance said journalists were barred from entering the college. But speaking during the passing out cere-mony of the recruits, acting commandant of the college raised alarm over shortage of accommodation.

“In the course of the training, the college experienced shortage of accommodation for recruits in view of the limited capacity of available structures compared to the large number of recruits. Our officers and men also experience accommodation shortage due to the effect of the Federal Government privatisation policy,” he said. To this effect, the acting commandant appealed to state governments to assist the college by building dormitories for recruits, residential accommodation for staffs, road network in the college and providing teaching aids.

Uncoordinated investment in Water & Sanitation: Adamawa legislator’s borehole donation not way to go

(This is another example of uncoordinated investment in water supply and sanitation – third one in this blog. Comments are given at the end of the newspaper report).

Thirst ends…150 years after

By Emmanuel Ande, Yola

The Guardian, Monday, 17 December 2012  

Gokra people of Adamawa State get first borehole, constructed by female House of Representatives member

IT was tears of joy in Gokra, a remote village in Geire Local Council of Adamawa State. Old women and men were shedding tears when the Minister of Water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe and the Adamawa State, Governor Murtala Nyako, fetched water from the solar-motorised borehole constructed by the member, House of Representatives representing Geire, Yola-North and Yola-South Federal Constituency of Adamawa  State, Hajia Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed, to end the perennial water problem in the area.

The water project in Gokra, to many residents, was the best and the first democracy dividend to come to the area.

A resident, Mrs. Jummai Luka, told The Guardian that the action of the only female National Assembly member from the state, to give the village potable water, was a sign that “she is a true representative of her constituency.”

She said based on her people -oriented projects in her constituency, the electorate would continue to vote for her anytime she would ask for the support of the people.

Ochekpe, who commissioned some of the boreholes last week in Geire, Yola-North and Yola-South Local Councils, urged other elected political office-holders to emulate Hajia Aisha’s efforts to compliment the present administration’s policy of providing social amenities to Nigerians.

“The water project will improve the hygiene of the people in the various benefiting communities.

Many water-transmitted diseases, which is very common in rural areas, will no longer affect the people”, she stated.

Ochekpe maintained that many girls in the rural areas could not continue with their education as a result of searching for water for their parents and those women spent more time looking for water than concentrate on their businesses.

“Hajia Aisha is a political mentor to our young women. She is a proof that if have more women in leadership positions, the welfare of the people and the economy of the country will improve fast,” she maintained.

Meanwhile, the lawmaker pointed said the construction of the 32 solar- powered boreholes in all the wards in her constituency, was her personal effort to compliment the government of Adamawa State to alleviate the suffering of the people.

“The provision of potable water to families will surely reduce cases of water-borne diseases tremendously and indeed, health challenges considerably”, she noted. She further disclosed that the 32 motorised solar-powered boreholes with 22,500 litres capacity steel tanks constructed in each of the wards in the three councils, cost her N73.6million.

The lawmaker appealed to the benefiting communities to see the boreholes as their personal property, urged them to protect them. (Putting the cart before the horse).

Governor Nyako, who commended the efforts of the female lawmaker, urged the electorate to vote in more women for development and gender equality in a democratic government.

Nyako, who said that his administration would continue to focus more on projects that had direct bearing on the lives of the people of the state, advised other elected office-holders in the state to give back to the society what the society had given to them.

The governor lamented the deplorable condition of the road to Gokra in Geire Local Council, where one of the 32 boreholes was commissioned, promised to construct the road before the expiration of his tenure in 2015.

The minister also commissioned other water projects executed by Aisha in Dou-beli in Yola-North Local Council and in Mbamba in Yola-South Local Council.

The chairman of Yola-North Local Council, Mr. Danjuma Iro, who spoke on behalf of the three council chairmen that formed the Federal constituency commended the action of Aishatu and appealed with other elected political office-holders to emulate her.

He maintained that no country could grow without the contributions of individuals and private sectors, pointing out government alone could not meet the demands of the public, considering the resources of the country.

The council boss stated that the action of the lawmaker was a big challenge to other political office- holders in the state.

A community leader, Mr. John Mulen, told The Guardian that Hajia Aishatu was the only National Assembly member from the state who could show her projects in all the wards that make up her Constituency.

Mulen, who expressed worry over the poor performance of some of the political office -holders from the state, warned the electorate not to vote for people that could not address the problems of the area but only concentrated on their families.

The event was graced by the representative of Lamido of Adamawa, Dr. Musdafa Aliyu Barkindo, community leaders, school children and top politicians in the state.



Hajia Aishatu’s contribution to improvement of access to potable water and sanitation in Yola is worthy of commendation. However, we should not be implementing water projects  in this kind of uncoordinated manner. This kind of project should be preceded by advocacy and awareness as well as consultation with the would-be beneficiaries with respect to choice of technology, post construction operations and maintenance, etc.

“The lawmaker appealed to the benefiting communities to see the boreholes as their personal property, urged them to protect them.” It is evident from the advice given to the beneficiaries that this is a case of putting the cart before the horse.  It is clear that demand responsive approach  was not followed. When this happens, the benefiting communities are not involved in planning and decision-making, nor is any thought given to how the project will be maintained.

If demand-responsive approach was followed, ownership of the facilities would be ensured and the services would be sustainable.

The following questions are pertinent:

was there any consultation with the communities with respect to the choice of technology, etc. before the project was embarked on?

To whom  were the boreholes handed?

Is there a water consumers’ association in place to take care of these boreholes? Who will be responsible for maintenance?

Furthermore, what has the state and the LGAs been doing with respect to provision of water supply in this area because the report says there had not been potable water in this area for over 150 years?

What exactly are Governor Nyako’s plans on water and sanitation: budget for water and sanitation and the strategy for the sector?

It is necessary for the State Government to develop a strategy that can be used for how this project and any such contribution to other communities can be sustained.

A framework for individual and private sector initiative in water and sanitation in all states  of the federation also needs to be developed and implemented without delay. This is should be taken up by the Federal Minister of Water Resources.

One final thought:  the whole approach to water supply and sanitation in the country which sees legislators donating money for boreholes to communities they represent while money allocated for the so-called Constituency Allowance is allocated to federal legislators (senators and House of Representative members) is an area that needs revisiting.

Water is a vital need of people and with federal and state governments’ capabilities to deliver potable water to people, and perhaps most legislators’ briefs not calling for expertise AND monitoring time in the supervision of major projects like borehole construction, it may be more appropriate that money meant for water provision not being allocated to senators or representatives.  I believe it should be the same for other projects.


Updated Paper on Institutional Issues in Water Supply & Sanitation and their role in the Attainment of MDGs in Nigeria

By Depo Adenle

(1st NATIONAL WATER & SANITATION FORUM, 29 August  – 1st September, 2006)


  • Introduction – Background statement on WSS institutions (definitions), the linkages between WSS Stds. & economic development vis-à-vis MDGs.
  • Institutional Aspects in WSS in Nigeria.
  • Critical review of WSS institutional issues in relation to attainment of MDGs in Nigeria in terms of coverage, access, policy, framework and strategies
  • key institutional issues in WSS service delivery vis-à-vis attainment of the MDGs:
  • How do they affect coverage and access?
  • How are these institutional issues reflected/addressed in policies and policy reforms on WSS and in the institutional framework?
  • How are they reflected/addressed in strategies to improve WSS delivery & Attainment of MDGs? And
  • How are they considered in the requirements for the attainment of MDGs?
  • What are being done:  What initiatives are being taken by all actors.
  • What needs to be done:The Way forward.

Background Statement (Institutions & MDGs)

  • Definition of institutions – Webster’s New World Collegiate Dictionary – organisations, working rules or establishments founded for a specific purpose of public interest based on an accepted custom, law or relationship in a society or community.
  • Laws upon which the governmental organisations are based – FG Laws or Decrees; State Laws/Edicts; LG Bye-Laws, etc.

Paper will therefore focus on organisations, their mandates as stipulated by laws or customs, etc.

WSS Linkages to economic development –

  • Direct correlation between poor WSS Stds. & decline in indicators in health, education & productivity (low enrollment in schools, especially of girls, etc.); Hence link between poor WSS stds. and poverty.
  • MDG Goal 7 target: Reduce by half the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.

Institutional Aspects of WSS

  • Three levels of govt. share responsibility for delivery of WSS services – Federal Govt.; State Govt.; Local Govt. + a fourth level – the community
  • Three levels of govt. are responsible for delivery of sanitation services – Federal, State and LG.

Among other issues the paper will focus on the following:

  • Which are the institutional issues that are essential to improving WSS service delivery with respect to coverage and access that need to be addressed, that need to be considered in WSS Policy, institutional framework and strategies for the attainment of MDGs?
  • What are the current policy issues on institutions in the FMWR’s NWSSP of 2000, the National Water Policy, the proposed National Water Sanitation Policy; FMENV’s National Environmental Sanitation Policy of 2005; States’ WSS Policies?


General Issues

  • Lack of clear and coherent regulation –
  • Uncoordinated approach to water laws administration
  • Decree 101 and Minerals Act, Cap 226 FMWR minister and Solid Minerals minister have same power to issue water license, to remove hydraulic work, to impose license fee, pollution control, and to impose other fees & charges.
  • NIWA Decree 13 and Water Resources Decree 101 grants similar powers to NIWA and FMWR.
  • RBDA Act, Cap 396 at conflict with NIWA decree.
  • Laws inadequate – the flaws identified in the water laws.
  • Virtually all the laws on WR (Fed. & State ) are rule-oriented and fail to recognize the role of the private sector and communities as important stakeholders.
  • Present laws lack proper provisions & mechanisms of interest with respect to tariff setting and conflict resolution.
  • Institutional responsibility not backed with enforceable authority – RBDAs/SWAs relationship.
  • Accompanying Rules & Regulations (1997) for Water Resources Decree 101, 1993 outdated with respect to the current realities and not yet implementable;
  • Fourth draft of the National Water Resources Bill prepared in July 2011.
  • the Sub-Committee of the Inter-Ministrerial Committee on the review of the National Water Resources Bill made observations on this Bill in July 2011.


  • Institutional constraints: Two types of institutional impediments stand in the way of expanding access to water supply and sanitation services Lenton, R. &Wright, A. (2004):
  • Lack of appropriate institutions at all levels, and
  • Chronic dysfunction of existing institutional arrangements. (At the community level, potential users of services are often constrained by the absence or underutilization of institutions to facilitate collective and/or individual action. Currently in six EU focal states an attempt to respond to this is the formation of Water Consummer Associations (WCA). However, the ability of these WCAs to fullfil their mandates is a function of the leadership ability of the chairman of each WAC). At the national and State levels, sanitation often has several institutional homes creating a policy chaos and a corresponding lack of prioritization in budgetary decision-making).
  • For example at the National level the Ministries of Environment and that of Water Resources are often fighting a sort of turf war with respect to which of the two should be responsible for sanitation.
  • RBDAs set up as development agencies not management agencies & are thus not managing WR within basins.
  • Recently, new institutions were established at the Federal level – Nigeria Integrated Water Resources Management Commission (NIWRMC) was set up to assume the FMWR’s regulatory role in order to ensure that the resource is properly managed; Nigeria Hydological Services Agency (NIHSA); Gurara Water Management Agency – providing water for Fed. Captal Teritory, for irrigation and power  to Kaduna City.
  • This creation of several agencies from previous departments of the Ministry of Water Resources  have further muddled the ‘institutional water’ in such a way that the Ministry’s  mandates clash with such agencies’.
  • FMWR encroaching on the functions of RBDAs – construction and management of Gurara Dams (which was formerly part of Upper Niger RBDA), borehole drilling; RBDAs engaging in bottled water business, real estate business, hospitability services, etc.
  • Lack of clear definitions of the functions and relationship of sector institutions –
  • Mandates of institutions as stipulated by laws and edicts that establish them create overlaps, etc;
  • Multiplicity of organisations and other bodies involved in WR sector which has led to a situation of conflicting mandates and responsibilities, giving rise to inefficient and ineffective water resources development and management.
  • Conflict created as a result of Water resources not managed on unit basin basis – e.g. the KYB case & Ogun River Basin that is located in two states (Lagos and Ogun) resulting in conflict between downstream and upstream users.
  • Conflict between agencies – little cooperation between federal & federal agencies – FMWR and FMENV, and between federal and state agencies
  • Involvement of the three tiers of govt. in rural water supply without collaboration results in weak coordination & inconsistent & conflicting mandates & responsibility.
  • Too many agencies claiming ownership for sanitation but not its responsibility (NWSSP of 2000).
  • Water supply and regulatory functions are often combined in a single institution. This is especially true of all RBDAs, as well as all SWAs.
  • Poor consultation and coordination – sectoral management of water and sanitation; duplication of schemes (small water supply schemes); planning, development and management.
  • Lack of integration of WSS sector activities & initiatives – FMENV National Environmental Sanitation Policy/ FMWR draft National Water Sanitation Policy.
  • Over-centralization – WSS development and management not yet at the lowest possible appropriate level. (Examples worthy of studying/fine-tuning and replicating – UNICEF assisted and WaterAid programmes). The formation of WCAs in the self-selected small towns is worthy of interest.
  • Widespread interference in affairs of water agencies – tariff setting, programme activities such as planning, prioritization of projects, etc. (Politics & its implications).
  • Shortage of qualified, honest & transparent manpower;
  • Lack of stakeholder participation –Schemes not demand driven; top down approach. Several boreholes drilled by FGN & at times by State governments not properly handed over to communities breakdown shortly after completion.
  • National Council on Water Resources – not functioning effectively – Meetings of the Tech. Committee too close to the annual meetings & not meeting as many times as may be necessary.
  • No role for women – There is an inadequate involvement of communities, especially women, in all aspects of project work, which has resulted in low community ownership and poor service sustainability
  • Lack of technical and managerial capacity in the WSS sector especially at the LG and community levels.

Specific sub-sector issues:

Urban WSS institutional  issues–

  • Very low operational efficiency (UfW very high, up to 63% in 1998) due partly to unmotivated staff, highly politicized tariff setting and poor maintenance culture.
  • Weak commitment of state govts. to institutional reforms – David Henley (2000) “… Trained people go elsewhere where they can earn more; experienced managers get moved, system fails as soon as Bank finance dries up; …We find that promises made by Government  to improve operations and revenue generation are not and cannot be kept; … We find autonomy is given and taken away;…”
  • World Bank WSS Interim strategy Note of 2000 “ … there is the problem of agency responsibility for sanitation, poorly developed sanitation policies.”
  • SWA staff from GM down are civil servants and operate as such
  • Lack of autonomy of water supply agencies; Edicts that established SWAs provide that they operate as autonomous entities, in practice they operate like govt. depts. closely integrated into the civil service. They depend on subvention.
  • Have a decentralized organizational structure down to district zonal offices, which is a positive development.
  • Usually overstaffed. Staff to customer ratio ~ 70, compared to the average best practice of 3.5 in efficient utilities.
  • There is poor definition and assignment of responsibilities for regulation and effective control of the various aspects of the water and sanitation business.
  • Lack of technical & financial capacity at SWAs to efficiently monitor distribution systems;

Small Town WSS institutional issues

  • Responsibility for Small Town WSS lies with the three tiers of govt. – federal, state and local with overlapping & uncoordinated roles and functions.
  • Services introduced with little or no community participation.
  • No single policy enforced to coordinate & lend focus to the various efforts & inputs, although the FMWR-STWSSP started addressing the issue feebly, but the Water Supply And Sanitation Sector Reform Programme (WSSSRP) is now addressing the issue.
  • Most of the institutional issues identified for urban utilities are also relevant in Small Towns.
  • Because the small towns have been largely ignored by SWAs WS has been virtually left to informal arrangements – tankers, privately-owned wells, and hand-carried water containers.

Rural WSS institutional issues –

  • World Bank WSS Interim strategy Note of 2000 – “Nigeria has a policy of requiring community ownership and operation of rural water supply and sanitation.” However, it is difficult to see this in practice.
  • “Uncoordinated, conflicting programs have been adopted by various agencies, not in line with the stated policy.
  • Many communities have been served by multiple programs, many served by none, and a majority of facilities that have been provided are not operational.”
  • Lack of technical & financial capacity at LGAs to efficiently monitor mini water schemes – boreholes, etc “Federal government with the collaboration of international agencies, especially UNICEF, is helping states to build capacity of state, local and community levels before moving the responsibility for rural water supply to the LGAs in accordance with national policy.”
  • The Activities of WaterAid also – partnering with NGOs in 2 states Bauchi and Plateau, but in Benue partnering with the State govt.
  • Treatment of WSS institutional issues in policies, WSS institutional framework & strategies:

National Water Policy (2004); National Water Supply and Sanitation Policy (2000); National Water Sanitation Policy (Draft, 2003); National Environmental Sanitation Policy (2005) National Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Programme: A Strategic Framework (2004).; State WSS Policies where available.; State Draft Water Bills

National Water Policy:

It states with respect to capacity & manpower development that the policy aims at developing competence and skilled manpower, training of middle and lower manpower and strengthening of NWRI.

The institutional arrangement suggested similar to existing ones. The objectives of the institutional arrangement are aimed at addressing the above issues and are:

To ensure proper co-ordination and collaboration among stakeholders and harmonization of activities in water resources development management.

To ensure a multi-disciplinary and inter-sectoral approach to water resources development and management.

To define clearly the functions and responsibilities of each tier of governments and Institutions set up to implement various activities in the water resources sector.

National Water Supply and Sanitation Policy (2000):

Offers reform agenda for the WSS sector that will be developed based on the following guiding principles:

Autonomy of WSS services providers;

Management at the lowest appropriate level “appropriate being key and a function of the specific conditions in the concerned areas and communities”;

Participation – “… involvement of important segments of the society that have been traditionally excluded”.

Policy making and regulatory role of government – “… as a facilitator, setting macroeconomic and sector policies that create an enabling environment. …precludes its intervention in the actual delivery of services, Which are more efficiently accomplished by autonomous entities,”

It defines institutional responsibilities of the FMWR,RBDAs, NWRI, SWAs and LGs and describes inter agency relationship.

National Water Sanitation Policy (Draft, 2003):

Provides an institutional framework for sanitation which gives a list of all institutions that should be involved at all levels with the FMWR & states MWR taking the lead in sanitation.

The creation of a sanitation division in the WS&QC Department of the FMWR and a water sanitation division in the department of water supply at state ministries.

National Environmental Sanitation Policy (NESP, 2005);

Institutional arrangements –  Technical Committees at all levels – National Technical Committees, State Technical Committees, and Local Government Technical Committees.

National level TC includes FMWR, Health and other relevant Ministries; same for the state TCs and LG TCs.

It defines the institutional roles of the members of the technical committees; E.G. The FMWR is responsible for 2 things:

Collaborate with FMENV on water sanitation activities including sewerage, storm water control and quality control of water supply;

Ensure access to adequate potable water supply for all Nigerians.


Initiatives towards addressing WSS institutional issues necessary for the attainment of MDGs:


Federal level – NEEDS

State Level – SEEDS


World Bank:

Through the FMWR PMO – Assistance in:

Broad sector reform – to finalize policy & completion of institutional reform

urban water supply sector reform

Review of WSSP review

Regulation – estb. Of regulatory agency at the state level

Capacity development framework through the help of NWRI

African Development Bank (AfDB)

Several involvements in WSS.

Study on rural water supply & sanitation




EU assistance:

Water Supply & sanitation Sector Reform Programme (WSSSRP) – PMU now Abuja Coordinating Unit (Federal level), STU (State level)

Six States (Anambra, Cross River, Kano, Jigawa, Osun & Yobe) now have WSS Policy and draft bills;

DFID-JWL program in KYB Basin

Institutional reforms & IWRM in the KYB basin;

Promotion of new institutional arrangements that will encourage & ensure good water governance in line with IWRM;

Estb. of State IWRM committees to facilitate consultation & awareness raising; encouragement of NGOs & CBOs involvement

DFID – working through UNICEF & WaterAid

UNICEFs’ Assistance:

Preparation of the National RWSS Programme Strategic Framework.

Involvement in capacity building though WATSANs

WaterAid – Develops the capacity of local partner organisations to implement water, sanitation & hygiene projects. For sustainability of its projects its partners train & supports local communities to plan, construct, manage and maintain their own projects (WaterAid Corporate Strategy 2005 –2010).

UN-Habitat WAC programme – WAC II Jos Programme, Nigeria –aims to develop a pro-poor WSS intervention through piloting & demonstration of activities of WAC so as to accelerate meeting the MDGs for WSS.


Government should:

Adopt IWRM principles in all WR programmes.

Review available institutional structures and develop one that helps in minimizing fragmentation & overlap of functions between different institutions (This will involve a careful consideration of the laws/statutes/decrees, etc. that establish these institutions). Complex institutional arrangements will not improve institutional performance. Instead, institutions have to be fully authorized and their formal position should be compatible with assigned responsibilities.

Provide the existing regulatory systems and coordination structures with the authority and appropriate resources they lack.

Create appropriate institutions at all levels. e.g. for proper management of river basins – e.g. River Basin Management Committee.

All water and sanitation projects should have capacity building component.

All water and sanitation agencies should have budgetary provisions for human resources development.

When allocating resources to national-level initiatives or decentralizing water supply and sanitation services delivery to local authorities, ensure that funds for both infrastructure and capacity building (e.g., for planning, operation, and maintenance) are provided in one package.

Fund NWRI and other related institutions to operate extension services with respect to carrying out refresher training at the state and LG levels.

Develop courses that are suited to the training needs of the local governments and communities.

Take measures to increase accountability of service providers to consumers, such as the reform of civil-service legislation and limiting political interference in planning, construction, and O&M.

Establish and provide resources for credible regulatory institutions.

Establish minimum national standards for water and sanitation services that focus on end goals (e.g., safe removal of excreta) rather than on specific technologies.

Create a national-level and state-level “institutional home” for the issue of sanitation, be it the FMWR or FMENV. This sanitation institution should set national standards, support implementing bodies, and hold local governments accountable for results. It should also create a national-level plan to guide policy-making and goal-setting for sanitation. (It may be necessary to hold an inter-ministerial summit between FMWR and FMENV, facilitated by an international expert that will once and for all assigning a home to sanitation

Engage WaterAid or any similar donor agency as a partner on a nationwide basis where WATSAN is absent to assist in capacity development at local government and community levels.

Develop drinking water quality standards. This has now been developed.

Put in place drinking water quality and surveillance policy guidelines, develop the capacity of the relevant government institutions to establish an effective water quality surveillance programme and implement the guidelines. The establishment of an effective water quality and surveillance programme especially at the community level could be the type of innovative action recommended by Wright (2005) in order to fast track attainment of MDGs’ water and sanitation target in Nigeria.

Address any gender biases within all institutions.

Service providers (SWAs etc). Should:

Improve pay scales and incentive structures to attract and retain qualified technical and managerial staff.

Restructure professional incentives to reward good performance in operations and maintenance, as well as service extensions to low-income communities.

Involve both women and men in water supply and sanitation services provision and integrated water resources management initiatives.

Restructure professional incentives to reward good performance in operations and maintenance, as well as service extensions to low-income communities.

Civic organizations such as schools, local NGOs, and community associations should:

Partner with service providers in projects to provide or improve services to poor communities.

Participate in public meetings, hearings, and other events related to public-service delivery to advocate for policies and programs that will improve water supply and sanitation services to the poor.

Include hygiene education in school curricula.This has now been done in Anambra state.

Use the issue of water supply and sanitation services as an entry point for promoting women’s empowerment. Promote women’s involvement in community management of water supplies. This is already being achieved through the WCAs and voluntary Hygiene Promoters during the implementation of WSSSRP.