Corruption and Inefficiency Militates against the Provision of Potable Drinking Water in Nigeria-Prof.Olagoke

IndexMillions of Nigerians in the six Geo-political zones of the country are complaining bitterly about the absence of potable drinking water.

Indeed, Governments at all levels insist that in the course of governance, the provision of potable water is no longer a problem, but Nigerians argue that the availability of potable drinking water is not only a problem but a set back to governance, considering the moribund state of several bore hole projects across the country.

In this interview, the Founder, Spiritual Head and Grand Imam of Shafaudeen-in-Islam Worldwide, Prof. Sabitu Olagoke says that corruption and inefficiency pose major threats to the plans of the Federal Government to privatize the water sector. Excerpts :

What do you think can be done by Government at all levels to ensure the availability of potable drinking water for Nigerians ?

Simple biological analysis, with respect to the significance of water, points out that 75 per cent of human composition is water, making us to heavily depend on potable water for survival.

Simple geographical analysis equally expresses that the whole earth is 75 per cent water. Cycle of evaporation and condensation is responsible for rain seasonally.

The abundance of water on earth, ranging from running water, estuaries, lagoon and ocean are at their raw stage containing debris of impurities making them to be unsafe for drinking and other purposes.

With this background, part of the mandate of service given to political office holders is therefore focused on the provision of basic amenities of which potable water is of significant value because of its direct relevance in human sustenance.

The United Nations and the World Health Organization(WHO) work on the standard qualities that must be met in the provision of potable water that would be safe for human consumption.

In the spirit of this, to avoid the violation of this rule the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration(NAFDAC) mandate equally covers the quality of water for human consumption.

However, in Nigeria the history of our struggle in providing potable drinking water was that of lapses and retrogressive moves on the part of government.

In the 60s, urbanization was premium, with the costly neglect of the need to develop the villages as well as in the areas of the provision of primary infrastructure such as schools, hospitals, electrification and potable water.

The urban city dwellers enjoyed potable water which flowed as public utility with a network of laid pipes at strategic locations, there were reservoirs which helped to ensure an uninterrupted supply of potable water, most especially during the down time of water, when repairs and maintenance are undertaken.

The common diseases then, referred to as water borne diseases such as guinea worm and others, were remote in the urban centers, but rampant in the villages, forcing us into a state of rural-urban drift.

With increasing population and without a corresponding expansion water works resulted in urban threats of potable water scarcity.

The former Public Works Department routine repairs and pipe re-connection stopped abruptly to the extent that even when some water works made attempts to produce, members of the public who were lucky to get water, received dirty and colored liquid due to rust and in most cases the members of the public received nothing from their taps due to leakages, which could not be detected.

Wells are sunk by individual homes, while bore holes were equally sunk by the elite in communities. It is rather unfortunate that successive governments at all levels resorted to sinking bore holes without considering that many of these could not be relied on mainly because of possible geological reasons-earth crust dislocations and future possible landslides.

Besides this, the Nigerian factor of the contractors on the issue of sinking bore-holes has made us to witness many white elephant projects.

Now that government is considering privatization of the water sector, there are some few questions we must ask : What is the success rate of government’s privatization of the power sector ?

What would become of the various grants usually received in the water sector from international donors ?

Are the investors, government have in mind, to invest in the water sector indigenous or expatriate ?

Will the public outcry of the poor performances of the Power Distribution companies, be the same when it comes to the water sector ? If not, then government ought to give Nigerians the strategies it would apply in the water sector privatization.

The Nigerian factor in handling the affairs concerning the welfare of our teeming population has always been a case of woes and deterioration because water is even more crucial than electricity.

If our failures in managing Millennium Envelopment Goals (MDGs) and Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) are anything to go by, then the Federal Government must look inwards using the SWOT analysis in both government and the Ministries,Departments and Agencies, to effect sanity, sincerity, patriotism and high efficiency for productive end for the sector.

We have our areas of strength in terms of natural resources and expertise, even if they are not adequate, which may be our areas of weaknesses. Government must be read to fill the gap. Our areas of opportunities are very many, from government resources to that of international aid and interventions.

Our areas of threat is the culture of corruption and weak sanctioning system which government must pay particular attention to, to be able to break even in achieving the needful.

If government is unable to identify and fix all possible loopholes responsible for our inaction, then the crop of people who are there are not qualified to be there.

Government must muster the muscle of political will on the issue of the provision of potable water through our various water works and others that must be built without over relying on sinking of bore holes.

Nigerians, generally, deserve to be served by their government, which must see governance as service rather than been a source for self enrichment.


Nigeria Governance Prof. Sabitu Olagoke Water Privatization

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