Reesidents of Okellele area of Ilorin in search of potable water

Hammed Shittu writes that water scarcity in Ilorin is hitting hard on the residents of the city and its environs

The World Water Day was marked recently across the globe. This shows the importance of water in the socio-economic life of mankind. Water can be used for washing, bathing, drinking among others. And this has made many households, government and individuals in the society to always strive harder to ensure the availability of water in their various homes, offices, among others so as to make life worth living.

However, the pitiable situation of lack of potable water in the ancient town of Ilorin, and other major towns in Kwara State has continued to give the residents of the State of Harmony, sleepless nights. Worst hit is the ancient town of Ilorin that happens to be the state capital which had been in dire need of potable water for almost 40 years and without any water supply running across the pipes in different homes in the town.

The successive administrations in the state either military or civilian had tried all their possible best to ensure water is available at the doorsteps of the people of the ancient town despite the availability of two major dams, Asa and Agba in the ancient town of Ilorin but alas the situation remained the same. This ugly development has continued to portray the state in bad light.

The hope of the community to get potable water was brighten between 1999 and 2003 when the former military governor of Ogun State, Vice Admiral Muhammed Alabi Lawal (rtd) who happened to be an indigene of ‎Ilorin was elected as the civilian governor of the state in 1999 but his reign was shortlived when he could not get reelected for second term during the 2003 governorship elections in the state.

Lawal actually began the expansion of Asa Dam River and Agba Dam River with the intention of pumping more potable water to the people of the state.

This followed the erection o‎f bigger reservoirs across the Ilorin metropolis in order to ensure that the water that is pumped from both dams gets to the erected reservoirs in earnest so as to allow the residents of the state get potable water in the ancient town.

This was the situation of ‎the water supply in the Ilorin metropolis until the former governor of the state, Bukola Saraki, son of Kwara political godfather, late Olusola Saraki, took over the mantle of leadership of the state in 2003.

Upon assumption of office, Saraki who is the incumbent Senate President took up another challenge of ensuring that potable water was made available at the doorsteps of residents of Ilorin and environs. A new design of expansion of Ilorin water project was made and the contract was awarded at the cost of N2.3 billion.

The contractors commenced work on the Ilorin water reticulation project. Pipes were sunk across the length and breadth of Ilorin metropolis. The project also ensured the replacement of old pipes that had been laid in Ilorin for almost 40 years ago.

The administration of Saraki could not ensure the completion and inauguration of the Ilorin water project before the completion of his two terms of eight years in office.

The new administration of governor Abdulfatah Ahmed took over the reins of governance of the state under the political platform of “Legacy Continues”. The administration therefore inherited all the ongoing projects including that of Ilorin water project. The Ilorin water project contract was also reviewed making it up to over N5 billion so far committed to the project.

But up till now, the project is still ongoing and yet to see the light of the day when it is only two years left for Ahmed to complete his two terms of eight years in office.

This ugly development in the ancient town of Ilorin‎ has led many residents to trek long distance before they can get potable water. Some of the donor agencies and wealthy individuals have sunk deep boreholes across the Ilorin metropolis for the residents of the ancient town but yet it has not met their expectations as non constant power supply has affected the positive use of the boreholes that were sunk in some areas in Ilorin town.

The situation is however compounded with the‎ ongoing dry season as many of residents could not sleep with their two eyes closed again as they normally wake up between the 4a.m. and 5a.m. in search of potable water across the Ilorin metropolis. To make matters worse, most of the rivers have dried up due to the dry season while some have been infected with diseases such that if urgent step is not taken, it may lead to epidemic in the ancient town.

When THISDAY visited some parts of Ilorin, some residents have no access to potable water neither for cooking nor bathing.

‎THISDAY investigations revealed that, residents were seen across the nooks and crannies of the state capital carrying buckets and kegs around looking for water without success.

Even some of them abandoned their shops because they have to look for water either for cooking or washing their household clothes.

Some of the affected areas include, Gaa Akanbi, Kuntu, Okelele, Okekere, Oloje, Danialu, Offa Garage, Olunlade, Opo Maalu, Omoda, Oja Oba, Adeita, Balogun Gambari, Emirs road, Unity, Murtala, ITC, Gaa Imam among others. Residents were seen ‎lamenting the agony they were going through before getting water.

The development according to THISDAY checks had led to the increase in the prices of pure water sachet in the town.

A sachet of pure water that used to sell for N5 per one is now two for N15 in some places while a bag of pure water is now between N150 and N180 depending on the producer of such pure water in the town.

‎A resident, Alhaja Iyabo Bello expressed disappointment over the insensitivity of the government to the problem of water scarcity in Ilorin, the state capital.

She said that, it was painful that the government that had promised the people of the state a new lease of life could now abandon the residents.

Bello, ‎therefore, appealed to the state government to rise up to the ugly situation saying that, “if care is not taken, it may lead to outbreak of epidemic in Ilorin, the state capital.”

‎A community association in Ilorin, Alore Central Youths Development Association has decried non availability of water supply in the community. It has drawn government’s attention to the plight of the residents over the water scarcity in Ilorin,

These formed parts of the resolutions reached during the one year anniversary prayer of the creation of Alore Central Youth Development Association held at the community’s Mosque, Alore, Ilorin.

Speaking at the prayer session of the association recently in Ilorin, the chairman of the Alore Joint Community Development Association, Engineer Yusuf Salman, said the 31 communities that made up the community must come together and rise against all forms of social vices pervasive in the community.

He called on the state government to live up to its responsibility of providing potable water to the residents, lamenting that a situation where residents of the community would have to pay N2,500 rate for water not supplied to them was unacceptable.

The president also said the community had declared a “no light, no distribution of bills, no payment’’ campaign against the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company IBEDEC over continued poor power supply to the community for which they have complained several times.

Chairman, Alore Central Development Association, Alhaji Abdulrahaman Olowookere had earlier in his speech expressed the association’s commitment to mould youth that will make the community proud.

Olowookere said that the community in the last one year had facilitated admission of many qualified youths into various higher institutions of learning in the state.

While residents of Ilorin in Kwara earnestly pray for the rainy season to come, the acute shortage of water supply remains constant and they still wonder and ask when will water run through their pipes‎?