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kwara Spends N6.5bn On Water Scheme In Eight Years



Eniola Olayemi


“The water project has never functioned. Not a single drop of water has come out from it so it has no benefit. People have turned it to a relaxation spot,” Tajudeen Quadri of Oja Gboro said.

Residents of Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, have refuted claims by the Kwara State Government that it spent N6.5billion on Water Reticulation Project to provide water for residents of the state.

Residents of Oja Oba, Maraba, Abdulazeez Attah, Jebba and environs denied the existence of the project in their communities, contrary to claims by Abdulfatah Ahmed, Governor of Kwara State.

The Governor had claimed that the project would supply water to 48,000 homes in the state capital, adding that residents would now have access to water within 500-metre radius of their homes.

“With the completion of this phase, it is safe to say that we have recorded significant milestones in our effort to ensure that every resident has access to water within a 500-meter radius. This project also takes us closer to achieving one of the targets of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No. 6 which aims to achieve universal access to safe and affordable drinking water for all by the year 2030,” the Governor had said.

However, findings by the Elites Network for Sustainable Development (ENetSuD), a Kwara-based Civil Society Organisation (CSO), reveal that the project was not executed and, in some places, partly executed. In other places, the projects were found to be out of order.

According to Dr. Abdullateef Alagbonsi, Coordinator of ENetSuD, the Ilorin water reticulation project was initiated in 2009 during the Bukola Saraki government.

“Ilorin water reticulation project is one of the major projects inherited by the current administration of Alhaji Abdulfatai Ahmed from his predecessor, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki. The project started in year 2009 and has remained one of the most controversial projects since that time. It has gulped several billions of naira since almost a decade that it commenced but it’s sad that the light has not been sighted at any end of the tunnel,” Alagbonsi said.

The water project was said to be 98 per cent completed in 2014 by Yomi Ogunsola, the then Senior Special Assistant to Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed on Investment Promotion and Strategy, But four years down the line, the government is yet to complete the supposedly remaining 2 per cent. The water project was commissioned on November 22, 2018 and listed areas where the completed water projects were located. However, a visit to the locations provided by the state government contradicted claims by the state government.

Residents who spoke on the water project lamented the inefficiency of the government to keep the project running. They said the only time it functioned was during the commissioning. Kadija Usman, a resident of Sabo, said since its completion, the borehole has only functioned during the rainy season.

“The only time we get water from this tap is only during the raining season. Now that it is in dry season, it is not flowing. The time we need water the most is during the dry season. They should make it function every time,” she said.

Bolakale Olateju, a resident of Oja-Oba in Ilorin, said the government’s claim that the project was done in Oja-Oba area was totally false. He also said residents were hopeful of the project coming to their community because of lack of water.

“There is nothing like that in this environment,” Olateju said.

“There is actually one in Ita Ajia and Ile Film but not in Oja-oba, Apalando and Gbagba, there is nothing here. We have been hoping for a long time that the government will come here but we couldn’t contact those in charge to tell them that we need the project in our environment. Our effort was in vain. If you go round, you would not see one in this neighbourhood. We beg the government to look into it because we are badly in need of water in our community.”

Residents of Coca-Cola road, Unity, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH), Flower Garden and Offa road all maintained that the project was not initiated in their communities as announced by the state government.

“We are yet to see anything regarding to that. Nothing has been done at all. We advised them to move closer to the people and give us what we need. Those doing it did not get here at all. Nothing was done here. We usually suffer before getting water in our neighbourhood,” said Eze Julius.

On his part, Mr Bello Abdulmojeed said: “I have been staying in Flower Garden for over 20 years and for so long time, we’ve been suffering from the absence of water that most residents decided to do a borehole to serve themselves. The government did not do anything here.”

Mustapha also expressed the same fate saying, “I don’t think the water was done here because from CBN to flower garden, there is nothing here”.

He urged the government to ensure they do projects budgeted to bring development to the state.

In some parts of the state, where boreholes were found, residents complained that they rarely supplied water.

Lukman said residents of Ita Amodu junction were happy when the project was announced. However, since the borehole was built, it never supplied water.

“We were happy when they announced they will provide water for us, because that is one of the things we are suffering from — lack of water. Since it was completed, it has never worked. They lied to us,” he said.

Prince M.A. Edogu, who lives in Taiwo Isale, said it only worked when it was commissioned but after that, it stopped supplying water.

Mustapha Abdulniyi, a resident of Gambari said: “We have not benefitted from this project because since it was done, we only got water from it twice. The first time was when it was newly built and once after then. They should not make the project a camouflage as it would amount to waste of resources.”

Tajudeen Quadri of Oja Gboro said the borehole spot had become a relaxation spot because the residents found it useless.

“The water project has never functioned. Not a single drop of water has come out from it so it has no benefit. People have turned it to a relaxation spot,” he said.

Likewise, Mallam Ibrahim said the borehole supplied water only twice since completion. He added that resident’s were beginning to complain and asking the state government to demolish it.

Meanwhile, Alfa Ahmed Soliu, who lives in Ita Ajia, said water flows from the borehole not every time. “It flows well but it does not come out every time,” he said. “They should make it come out every day for people to enjoy it well.”

There is no place the water project was found to be working.

ENetSuD is demanding that the Kwara State government provides the exact locations the water project was implemented and sustained, and also provide a full breakdown of how the said N6.5billion was spent on the project.


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