Threats of underground water pollution imminent in Nigeria?

The title of the article below which was published in the Daily Trust of August 26, 2015 and written by Alex Abutu based on what Mr. Michael Ale, AWDROP National President told Daily Trust, sounds alarmist as its scope is very limited compared to its content.
Groundwater pollution in Nigeria cannot and should not be mainly ascribed to the activities of foreign borehole drilling companies. It is due to a number of causes – poor borehole design by incompetent drilling companies, point-source and non-point-source pollution, unregulated waste disposal practices, unscientific design and siting of sanitary landfills, improper decommissioning of non-productive or failed boreholes, unsupervised drilling activities of oil prospecting companies, etc. to mention A few. fairly detailed summary is contained in the table provided by Canter(1981) which lists 3 major sources of groundwater pollution – Waste disposal sources, Nondisposal sources and Depletion. Please click below for the  table on major sources of Groundwater Pollution.

Major Sources of Groundwater Pollution
Major Sources of Groundwater Pollution
The article focuses on the following:
• “large format equipment which is inimical to our environment”;
• Drilling of large number of boreholes;
• Poor design of boreholes that allow infiltration of overburden water into the aquifer through the screening of the overburden casing without appropriate grouting;
• Foreign drillers operating without license;
• Too many boreholes and well interference.
These are sweeping statements which are difficult to substantiate, for example, that using large equipment is unfavorable, detrimental or adverse to our environment in Nigeria. Furthermore, drilling many boreholes per day, if scientifically located and properly designed and supervised should not cause any problem with respect to well interference or pollution.
Currently, the National Water Law has not been enacted. However, in Part X of the draft National Water Resources Act of 2011, reference is made to the Code of the Regulation of Domestic Boreholes which was developed by the National Water Resources Institute (NWRI) and the Ministry. This Code’s section 4 is on Legal Consideration.
Section 4.1 is on Drilling Permit which states “No well shall be constructed unless the owner is in possession of a valid permit to do so … Permit shall be given by relevant Agencies designated by the Minister of Water Resources.” This is fine but has no legal backing until the Water Resources Act is enacted.
Section 4.2 of the Code is on Water Well Driller’s License: Section 4.2a states “A water well driller’s license shall be obtained from NWRI on application. Section 4.2b states “No person shall construct a well for the abstraction or monitoring of groundwater or for research if the person does not have a driller’s license granted in accordance with the provisions of this code. The requirements of the driller’s license shall be applicable to any person, company, corporation, or other entity engaged in the business or occupation that involves construction of water wells that may penetrate water-bearing strata (including constructing water wells, geothermal systems and environmental monitoring wells.”
Section 4.2.1.1.1 gives an exemption to the stipulation of the Code as stated above. As mentioned earlier, the National Water Resources Act is yet to be enacted, the Code is part of the Act, consequently the alarm raised by the article concerning foreign companies using unlicensed drillers cannot be resolved at this point in time.
Comments by DEPO ADENLE.
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Threats of underground water pollution imminent
By Alex Abutu , Daily Trust, Aug 26 2015

FemaleDriller
A lady driller supervising a borehole drilling recently.
Nigeria is facing an imminent danger of underground water pollution if the activities of foreigners drilling companies are left unchecked, the Association of Water Well Drilling Rig Owners and Practitioners has alerted.
The association said at the rate the foreign companies, mostly from Asia, are operating, the nation may run out of clean drinking water in the nearest future. “Asians have infiltrated our environment with large format equipment which is inimical to our environment.”
Mr. Michael Ale, AWDROP National President, told Daily Trust that: “An average Asian drilling company operating in the country drills close to three boreholes in a day and we have about 50 of such drilling companies scattered around Nigeria with each having at least four rigs. With this calculation, an average of 400 boreholes are drilled daily and this is enormous.”
“Another major issue is the fact that the underground water is gradually being polluted by the design of drilling embarked by the Asians as most of their designs allow infiltration of overburden water into the underground aquifer through the screening of the overburden casing without appropriate grouting. We are not talking of the cheap materials used during their installation. This is sad,” Ale added.
Investigation by Daily Trust in Abuja and environs showed that there is an upsurge in the number of foreigners in the borehole drilling business.
In Masaka, a suburb near Abuja, numerous signposts advertising the foreign drilling companies abound with some engaging in promos to woo customers.
Ale noted that most of the foreign drillers are not licensed to drill, wondering who allowed them to operate in Nigeria. “Our trained drillers and experts are jobless. So the environmental, social and economic importance is being maligned by these foreigners.”
According to him, many Nigerians who drill boreholes have adequate knowledge of the terrain but the foreigners do not. “Borehole needs to last for a lifetime but conduct a search on many boreholes drilled now, it is glaring that they are affecting one another because of the approach of the drillers, many of whom are quacks that have infiltrated the industry.”
“Some people have argued that the Asians made borehole affordable to most Nigerians but is it affordability or sustainability that we should be talking about? Yes their borehole can be affordable for 2-3 years but will pack up with time. It may be affordable but the client gets contaminated water because of the drill design,” he added.
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Threats of underground water pollution imminent
By Alex Abutu , Daily Trust, Aug 26 2015
A lady driller supervising a borehole drilling recently.
Nigeria is facing an imminent danger of underground water pollution if the activities of foreigners drilling companies are left unchecked, the Association of Water Well Drilling Rig Owners and Practitioners has alerted.
The association said at the rate the foreign companies, mostly from Asia, are operating, the nation may run out of clean drinking water in the nearest future. “Asians have infiltrated our environment with large format equipment which is inimical to our environment.”
Mr. Michael Ale, AWDROP National President, told Daily Trust that: “An average Asian drilling company operating in the country drills close to three boreholes in a day and we have about 50 of such drilling companies scattered around Nigeria with each having at least four rigs. With this calculation, an average of 400 boreholes are drilled daily and this is enormous.”
“Another major issue is the fact that the underground water is gradually being polluted by the design of drilling embarked by the Asians as most of their designs allow infiltration of overburden water into the underground aquifer through the screening of the overburden casing without appropriate grouting. We are not talking of the cheap materials used during their installation. This is sad,” Ale added.
Investigation by Daily Trust in Abuja and environs showed that there is an upsurge in the number of foreigners in the borehole drilling business.
In Masaka, a suburb near Abuja, numerous signposts advertising the foreign drilling companies abound with some engaging in promos to woo customers.
Ale noted that most of the foreign drillers are not licensed to drill, wondering who allowed them to operate in Nigeria. “Our trained drillers and experts are jobless. So the environmental, social and economic importance is being maligned by these foreigners.”
According to him, many Nigerians who drill boreholes have adequate knowledge of the terrain but the foreigners do not. “Borehole needs to last for a lifetime but conduct a search on many boreholes drilled now, it is glaring that they are affecting one another because of the approach of the drillers, many of whom are quacks that have infiltrated the industry.”
“Some people have argued that the Asians made borehole affordable to most Nigerians but is it affordability or sustainability that we should be talking about? Yes their borehole can be affordable for 2-3 years but will pack up with time. It may be affordable but the client gets contaminated water because of the drill design,” he added.

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.

By DEPO ADENLE
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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.

The Disappearing Lake Chad and Buhari’s emergency call for action

Buhari orders review of 1920 report on Lake Chad
by Talatu Usman, Premium Times, August 4, 2015.
President Muhammadu Buhari has directed that a Lake Chad report submitted in 1920 be reviewed to salvage the lake from drying up, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Fatimah Mede, said Tuesday.
Lake Chad is largest lake in the Chad Basin, and is located mainly in the far west of Chad which shares a border with north-eastern Nigeria.
It is economically important, providing water to over 68 million people living in four countries surrounding it, namely, Chad, Cameroon, Niger, and Nigeria.
Ms. Mede told journalists that the president gave the directive following his concern that Lake Chad has receded from 33,000 square kilometres about two decades ago to just 300 square kilometres.
The president, Ms. Mede said, complained that the receding lake is adversely affecting the livelihood of those whose economic activities are directly linked to it.
“So he has directed that we should go and look at the report that was submitted in 1920 about how to prevent Lake Chad from drying up, so that the communities around, even border communities, including the countries benefitting from activities of fishermen and livelihood based on Lake Chad, are not affected.

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Comments by DEPO ADENLE

Apparently the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Environment is not aware of the wealth of information that is available at the Ministry of Water Resources on the Lake Chad with respect to the Compacts and Agreements on the Chad Basin. (Nigeria is a member of the Lake Chad Basin Commission and has access to the library of this Commission).
If she had discussed with the Water Ministry she would have informed the President that what would be relevant at this time is not just the 1920 report but all literature and proposals on restoring the Lake.
During the time President Obasanjo, the proposal to transfer water from the Ubangui River in the Central African Republic to Lake Chad as a way of saving the Lake was prepared and reviewed by water experts in the Chad Transboundary Basin.
This blogger wrote an article – A Lake Today, a Puddle Tomorrow?: The Case of the Disappearing Chad – in a book edited by L. Jansky, M. Nakayama and J.I. Uito published by the United Nations University in Japan 2002. The article contains a review of what had been done as of that time as well as proposals for action.
Apart from the Ministry of Water Resources, the Lake Chad Basin Commission is a good repository of knowledge on how to salvage Lake Chad. What is needed now is action on the proposals that have been reviewed by water resources professionals in Nigeria and other riparian countries.

by DEPO ADENLE.

 

Water shortage and water wars in SW USA: Lessons for Komadugu-Yobe Basin

Reading the story in the article below of the imminent Austin, Texas water war one could make a projection of similar development in the Komadugu-Yobe Drainage Basin in Northeast Nigeria. This article gives an insight into the kind of conflict that develops when any part of the globe suddenly discovers that it has become a water stressed or deficient area as a result of cyclic drought or climate change.

The drought in the Southwest USA has resulted in, for example, water conflicts in California and Texas. In California, the State has put together some water conservation regulations and there have even been reported cases of water theft. It has also led to a situation in Austin, Texas where urban communities and developers have become somehow creative in the interpretation of existing water laws. What has led to this creativity is the large scale decrease in available surface water which means not enough to pump for use in the cities. The developers and the cities discovered a gap in the Water Law which gives them a chance to go after groundwater. They thus enlisted the services of a drilling company to drain part of the water of the Trinity Aquifer.

What lessons can Nigeria’s NE (Hadejia-Komadugu-Yobe Basin) (HKYB) learn from this?

At the HKYB annual floods have for many years in the past supported the diverse socio-economic activities of the area. “To millions of West Africans the river brings comfort when flowing in abundance, misery in times of drought” (Gerster, G. (1975). This applies to HKYB also. This Basin has experienced droughts – since the first sharp phase in the years 1972-73, there have been consistent shortages of rainfall in the dry areas of tropical Africa, including HKYB. A notable worsening in the drought occurred in 1983-84, and shortages have remained the general rule up to at least the recent past. These have greatly affected the major rivers. Furthermore, with the development and construction of the Tiga and Challawa Gorge Dams in Kano State, an upstream state, flow has also been reduced and occurrence of floods and groundwater recharge of the wetlands has been considerably reduced.

The construction of these dams was undertaken because of the need to meet the increasing water demand resulting from rapid urbanization and high population growth rate. However, it is believed that what accounts for the reduced river flow is not only due to the increased diversion from these dams but also poor dam operation procedures.

The Komadugu-Yobe-Basin (KYB) Trust Fund was established as a partnership between the riparian states and the Federal Government to ensure that flows can reach the downstream users and that the aquifers in the downstream areas are recharged. Some of the steps the Trust Fund plans to take include developing dam operations procedures for the Tiga and Challawa Gorge Dams. This is aimed at maximizing the benefits of the river system for both human and nature, by controlling the unwanted dry season floods.

Finally, the National Water Law is yet to be enacted and whatever loopholes it contains, concerning the management of the waters of the KYB in an integrated manner, need to be investigated and addressed. Furthermore, there seems to be little or no attention paid to the management of groundwater, not the near surface aquifer, in the agreements reached in the Basin. The question that needs to be asked is how much impacts are the FADAMA tube wells, used for irrigation, having on the downstream flow of the river system?

Though the northeast Nigeria water situation has not reached the level of that in the southwest USA, it is necessary to borrow a leaf from what is happening there.

by DEPO ADENLE

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The Southwestern Water Wars
How Drought Is Producing Tensions in Texas
By RICHARD PARKERMARCH 13, 2015
WIMBERLEY, Tex. — “WE don’t want you here,” warned the county commissioner, pointing an accusatory finger at the drilling company executives as 600 local residents rose to their feet. “We want you to leave Hays County.”
Normally, my small town is a placid place nestled in the Texas Hill Country, far from controversy, a peaceful hour’s drive west of Austin. Pop. 2,582, Wimberley was founded as a mill town on a creek. Today it’s part artist colony, part cowboy town known for its natural beauty and its cool, clear springs and rivers that wind through soaring cypress trees.
But these are not normal times. The suburbs of Austin close in every year. Recently, the suburb of Buda and developers enlisted a company from faraway Houston to drain part of the Trinity Aquifer, the source of the Hill Country’s water. An old-fashioned, Western-style water war has erupted.
Across Texas and the Southwest, the scene is repeated in the face of a triple threat: booming population, looming drought and the worsening effects of climate change.
And it is a story that has played out before. It was in the Southwest that complex human cultures in the United States first arose. Around A.D. 800, the people called the “Ancient Ones” — the Mimbres, Mogollon, Chaco and other Native American cultures — flourished in what was then a green, if not lush, region. They channeled water into fields and built cities on the mesas and into the cliffs, fashioning societies, rituals and art.
Then around 1200 they all disappeared. Or so the legend goes. In reality, these cultures were slowly and painfully extinguished. The rivers dried. The fields died. The cities were unsustainable as drought stretched from years to decades, becoming what scientists today call a megadrought. Parts of these cultures were absorbed by the Pueblo and Navajo people; parts were simply stamped out.
By the time the Spanish arrived in the 16th century, so had, finally, the rain. The American, German and Polish settlers who came to Texas in the 19th century found a rich landscape, flush with water. “I must say as to what I have seen of Texas,” wrote Davy Crockett, “it is the garden spot of the world.” And so it remained, punctuated by only two long droughts.
One, at the dawn of the 20th century, wreaked ecological havoc on the overgrazed Hill Country. The second stretched from the late 1940s to the late 1950s and is still known as the drought of record. When it released its grip, a new era of feverish dam and canal building ensued in Texas, just as it already had in much of the Southwest. A dearth of rainfall, after all, is a fact in the cycle of life here. Rains come when the equatorial current of El Niño appears, and they stay stubbornly away when its twin, La Niña, reverses the course. Those grand dams and canals seemed likely to suffice.
But again, these are not normal times. Arizonans are in their 10th year of drought, despite an uptick in rainfall during last year’s monsoon season because of a single storm on a single day. And while it has been a cool, damp winter here, the clear waters of the Blanco River still look low. Officially, more than half of Texas’ 269,000 square miles are plagued by drought. Conservatively, this would make for the fifth consecutive year of drought in Texas. Meanwhile, today, the average American uses 100 gallons of water a day.
So the race to engineer a new solution is underway, and Wimberley finds itself squarely in the path. The drilling here would rely on a few landowners, whose land is beyond any water conservation district. Exploiting this gap in the patchwork of Texas water laws, the Houston company would pump five million gallons a day out of the Trinity Aquifer to the Austin suburbs of Buda and Kyle.

Access to water through an ATM-style dispenser in Kenya: Is it possible in Nigeria?

One of the problems of Small Town and Rural Water Supply is how to collect effectively and efficiently revenue from communities for the services provided.

Sustainable rural and small town water supply depends to a large extent on the ability of Water Consumers Association, in the case of Small Town, and WASHCOM in case of rural water supply, to collect revenue for services rendered.

In the early part of 2005 this blogger was involved in a scoping study of community water supply management organized by WaterAid in Benue State. It was discovered that the facilities that were managed by WASHCOMS that collected revenues efficiently were running well compared with those that were the reverse was the case. Similar results have been observed in the European Union Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Reform Programme (WSSSRP) in Nigeria.

The success recorded in Kenya slum of Mathare using ATMs should be given a trial in Nigeria.

Comment: DEPO ADENLE.
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Kenya slum Mathare gets cheap water through ATMs

BBC Report, 22 June 2015
From the section Africa

Residents of the Mathare slum area of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, are now able to access water through an ATM-style dispenser. People living in slums traditionally rely on vendors, who are expensive, or polluted sources to get drinking water. But the new system, where people use a smart card, is designed to provide cheaper and cleaner water.

The water company is opening four of these dispensers in Nairobi and there are hopes the scheme will be expanded. A version of the scheme has been used in rural areas in Kenya, but it is thought this is the first time that it will be used in an urban area.

Residents swipe the smart cards, topped up at a kiosk or through a mobile phone, at the dispenser and water starts flowing from the tap.

The Nairobi City Water and Sewerage company says it is charging half a Kenya shilling (half a US cent) for 20 litres of water. This is much cheaper than the rates being charged by the water vendors, reports the BBC’s Abdullahi Abdi in Nairobi.

The dispensers have been set up through a partnership between the local government and the Danish water engineering company Grundfos.

The company says that this public-private partnership model could be developed in other countries.

Meanwhile in another part of Nairobi residents are complaining about a water shortage.

The BBC’s Ahmed Adan in the suburb of Eastleigh says that vendors are selling water at 50 Kenya shillings for 20 litres – 100 times the price at the new water dispensing machines.

Having clean drinking water is one of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and it is thought that worldwide more than 700 million people still do not have access to it.

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).

 

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.

Lagos State Water Regulatory Commission (LSWRC)

Lagos State should be commended on  the progress it has made in the area of water sector reform, part of which is the establishment of the State’s Water Regulatory Commission (LSWRC). It was established as part of the reform measures aimed at meeting the challenges of water services delivery in the State.

As indicated in the U-tube video produced by the Commission the  LSWRC is the first of its kind in Nigeria, third in West Africa after Ghana and Senegal.

The video gives information on the estimated quantity of water needed in Lagos State. It gives expected per capita consumption as 135 litres and information about the population of the State as 21 million.

The Governor of the State notes that the State intends to meet the State’s water demand by the year 2020 on the basis of its development plans.

The commission covers the following:

  • Tariff policy and tariff setting guidelines;
  • Tankers services guidelines;
  • The quality of services guidelines;
  • Complaint handling guidelines;
  • etc.

For more information on the Commission visit: www.lagoswaterreg.org.ng

DEPO ADENLE.

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.”

Shoreline Erosion vis-a-vis Sea Level Rise: Ayetoro, Ondo State, Nigeria

Shoreline Erosion vis-a-vis Sea Level Rise: Ayetoro, Ondo State, Nigeria
Most shorelines respond dynamically to sea level rise. The author of the article below attributes the plight of the people of Ayetoro to sea level rise. Whether there has been sea level rise needs to be confirmed from the Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR). As indicated by the author, Ayetoro is a new town and socio-economic activities must have resulted in removal of the mangrove forest that protected its shoreline. This may be why contracts were awarded for shoreline protection.
The character of a shoreline response to sea level rise will differ among coastal landforms, based on the dominant geomorphic processes, the steepness and erodibility of the shoreline, the availability of sediment to maintain the landform, and the ability of the landform to shift laterally (as well as the actual rate of sea level rise). These factors affect the resilience of the coastline, allowing landforms to accommodate rising water levels while remaining relatively intact.
The geomorphic response often determines both the human and the environmental impacts of rising sea level. This is particularly true in softer sediment‐rich environments such as can be found at Ayetoro.
“Ayetoro, established in 1947, is inhabited by people of IIaje extraction. As a result of the effects of oil exploration, the community lost a considerable portion of its coast land to the Atlantic Ocean”. Apparently the author is referring to the loss of the coastal lands to oil pollution and erosion. Oil exploration pollution may have been moved to this area as a result of Longshore drift.
Wikipedia informs that “Longshore drift consists of the transportation of sediments (clay, silt, sand and shingle) along a coast at an angle to the shoreline, which is dependent on prevailing wind direction, swash and backwash. This process occurs in the littoral zone, and in or close to the surf zone. The process is also known as littoral drift, longshore current or longshore transport.
Longshore drift is influenced by numerous aspects of the coastal system, with processes that occur within the surf zone largely influencing the deposition and erosion of sediments. Longshore currents can generate oblique breaking waves which result in Longshore transport.”
We have two problems in Ayetoro – coastal erosion by Longshore drift and petroleum exploration pollution caused by the same process moving oil spill along the coastline.
Comments by DEPO ADENLE.
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INVESTIGATION: Why NDDC’s N3billion Ayetoro Shoreline Protection Contract FailedPremium Times, Adetokunbo Abiola January 31, 2015,
Nine years after the shoreline protection contract in Ayetoro was awarded and with more than N3 billion already paid as mobilization fees to contractors, the project is yet to be completed.
The non-completion of the project has foisted hardship on the people as it has impacted negatively on their economic and social lives.
“The contract was to stop the ocean from coming into the community (Stopping ocean from inundating the inhabited areas). Since it has not been done, water from the Atlantic Ocean is coming in. We have to abandon fishing or farming because of coastal storm. Buildings are collapsing because of the coastal erosion. Water covers the town so we can’t move around. The palace of our king sank as a result of ocean coming into the community,” said Amos Olorunlola, a youth leader.
Dredger abandoned by contractors
Tope Olowodasa is the spokesman for the Ogeloyinbo of Ayetoro, Oba Olofin Gad Ashogbon, the monarch of the community. Mr. Olowodasa lamented that Ayetoro residents are forced to abandon their homes because there was no embankment to protect the community from the advancing Atlantic Ocean.
Kudehindu, Ayetoro’s spokesman
According to him, houses near the shore are sinking, and people are forced to abandon them. He fears the entire community could go under the ocean if the shoreline protection contract is not completed.
James Oludare inherited a building from his father near the shore. Due to the advancing ocean, he was forced to abandon it and seek shelter elsewhere. Now, a landowner has been turned into a tenant in his community. He has to squat with others so he can have a roof under his head.
Ayetoro, established in 1947, is inhabited by people of IIaje extraction. As a result of the effects of oil exploration, the community lost a considerable portion of its coast land to the Atlantic Ocean.
Residents say the menace of the ocean incursion adversely affected their socioeconomic existence, as the community’s entire mangrove vegetation got destroyed.
The Atlantic Ocean’s surges also destroyed Ayetoro’s marine life, negatively affecting the people’s fishing business, which is the main stay of the local economy. In a community of mostly fishermen, the ripple effect of this can only be imagined.
It was due to the community’s persistent cry in the media, says Dele Kudehinbu, a spokesman for Ayetoro community, that the attention of the federal government was drawn to the problems of the town, and the Niger Delta Development Commission [NDDC] awarded the shoreline protection contract to Gallet Nigeria Limited in 2004, with the payment of N650 million as the mobilization fee.
“But the project was not completed. We don’t know the reason why. And the ocean kept coming into our community,” Mr. Olorunlola says.
If the project had been awarded since 2004 and was schedule to be completed within 18 months, why has it not been finished 10 years later?
Writing in The Nigerian Voice, Agreen Nemba, a commentator, noted that the Gallet contract is one of the numerous ones awarded by NDDC to mark its five years of existence.
According to Nemba, more than 70 per cent of these projects being handled by the firm have either not been executed or have been abandoned.
Mr. Kudehinbu said the Gallet shoreline protection contract in Aiyetoro was terminated after four years on grounds of non-execution.
The hopes of residents of Ayetoro were raised again when NDDC re-awarded the contract to another company, Dredging Atlantic, at the cost of N6.5 billion, paying a mobilisation fee of N2.5 billion, about 40 per cent of the total sum.
However, Dredging Atlantic has not completed the work five years later.
The slow execution of the shoreline project meant to protect Ayetoro from the ocean surges has become a source of unhappiness for residents of the community.
A visit to the community showed the residents of the town are under an pressure. Most of its shoreline is mud, and it might take many years for the beach to return to the land.
Another aspect of the negative effect of the non-completion of the contract is that the vegetation near the shore is threatened. Due to the incursion of the ocean and the muddy ground, coconut trees and other farm products are not growing well.
According to respected environmentalist, Nnimmo Bassey, this might not be unconnected with the oil water taken to the shore by the advancing ocean. (oil polluted water as a result of shoreline process).
So why has Dredging Atlantic not executed the contract?
“It is common knowledge that the company has paid over N100 million to groups and surrounding communities in fruitless search for desirable quantity of sand for the project. This suggests that there was no adequate planning and preparation for the project before it was contracted; and no credible pre-contract feasibility study,” says Kudehinbu.
The former spokesman of NDDC in Igbokoda, Dele Omogbemi, confirmed that non-availability of sand was a major setback in executing the project.
But, there is another reason for the non-completion of the project – non payment of workers on site. Residents observed that even when the contractors mobilised workers to site, work never progressed smoothly as the hired hands always complain that they had not been paid.
“The workers of the company always stop work on the project when they come. They did the same thing the last time they came. They say they had not been paid,” says Mr. Olorunlola..
To worsen the situation for residents of Ayetoro, NDDC has problems of its own.
News reports indicate no fewer than 4,000 projects of NDDC, worth trillions of naira and scattered across the Niger Delta, have been abandoned.
The Chairman, governing board of the NDDC, Senator Bassey Ewa-Henshaw, said the practice of providing only 15 per cent mobilization fee to its contractors was leading to project abandonment.
Sources say NDDC finds it difficult to provide the remaining 85 per cent of contract sums, making the contractors to either abandon contracts or carry out jobs poorly.
Dredging Atlantic also had habits that may account for the non completion of the contract.
Despite the sophisticated equipment it purchased from a Dutch company, Damen Dredging Equipment, The Hope investigation revealed that it has attracted some negative comments about its work in the past.
People in communities from Bayelsa to Ondo State blame the company for not executing or of completely abandoning its multi-billion naira projects.
The Punch on March 4, 2013 reported that Okoloba people in Kolokuma/Opokuma local government area of Bayelsa State raised the alarm that a shoreline protection project abandoned by Dredging Atlantic had caused landslides in the community.
FCC, Dredging Atlantic’s parent company, has also not been immuned from criticism.
Unfortunately for the residents of Ayetoro, they are not spared the pains of people in Okoloba, Ologbobiri and Eket-Ibeno.
Visits to Ayetoro show no evidence that the shoreline protection project is on a course for completion. In the years the project was abandoned, the Aiyetoro oceanfront has been subjected to massive sea surges that overwhelm the community during the rainy season.
Houses close to the shore have been swept away by the sea surges. But the former spokesman of NDDC in Igbokoda, Dele Omogbemi, rose in a stout defence of the Ayetoro shoreline protection contract, saying NDDC does not award contracts to companies without the financial muscle to execute them.
“The current contractors, unlike the earlier one, have the capacity because they have moved sophisticated equipment to site. But they could not find sand,” Mr. Omogbemi said.
But residents of Ayetoro disagree. Mr. Olowodasa says they took officials of Dredging Atlantic less than 10 kilometres away to Igbo Aiku, which has enough sand to be evacuated for the project. Company officials, he says, said Igbo Aiku was too far.
E-mails sent to Gallet Nigeria Limited were not replied. When this reporter called the company through its international lines, no one answered.
Efforts to get Dredging Atlantic to state its own side of the story proved tricky. Visits to its office in Port Harcourt ended in failure, as the company’s spokesman was said to have traveled. When our reporter called the company on the phone two weeks later, its project manager, a man simply named Akin, said the company had not abandoned the project, that workers were on site in Ayetoro.
However, when The Hope got back to Ayetoro, it found workers were not on site. In fact, the community was flooded by tidal waves from the sea at the time.
“They have not been here for the past one year. Even when they come, they are not doing work on the project. They just come into town, stay in hotels, and do nothing. They don’t have sand,” says Olowodasa.
Today, the entire area of Ayetoro is lashed by ocean surges, while many residents are forced to move inland once again, possibly causing a lot of social and economic dislocation.
The story of the Ayetoro contract is a classic example in poor project preparation, institutional failure and corporate negligence.
“This report was produced by Adetokunbo Abiola, with support from Partners for Democratic Change and from the Institute for War & Peace Reporting. It is part of the Access Nigeria/Sierra Leone program funded by the United States Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement.”
This report was first published by The Hope newspaper. We have the permission of the paper and that of the author to republish here.