Our battles with epileptic power, potable water challenges – FCT residents

For the residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), epileptic power and the lack of potable water supply are parts of the challenges they usually contend daily; TOPE SUNDAY writes.

Residents of the FCT, particularly those who live in the suburbs, are faced with the challenges of poor power supply, and lack of portable water supply daily. Blueprint Weekend can report that the majority of the affected residents have embraced the use of generating sets as alternatives to power, and boreholes for water supply.

However, despite the availability of the generating sets and boreholes, a number of them can not still afford them because of either PMS/diesel or fees for water purchase.

Residents in the suburbs

Blueprint Weekend’s finding reveals that a larger percentage of Abuja residents dwell in the suburbs owing to the high cost of rent in the heart of the town.

This medium had previously reported that Abuja, which is the seat of the federal power, is now home to many Nigerians because of its various opportunities and economic abilities. With this development, many Nigerians and foreigners alike have reportedly turned to Abuja as their place of economic survival.

Despite their influx into the city, the expensive nature of Abuja has forced some of them to relocate to the suburbs or villages around the city of Abuja.

Also, according to the United Nations, Abuja grew by 139.7% between 2000 and 2010, making it the fastest-growing city in the world. As of 2015, the city is experienced an annual growth of at least 35%, which made it retain its position as the fastest-growing city on the African continent and one of the fastest-growing in the world.

Also, as of 2016, the metropolitan area of Abuja is estimated at six million persons, placing it behind only Lagos as the most populous metro area in Nigeria.

Blueprint Weekend can reliably report that the geometric growth of the city’s population is taking a toe on its infrastructure facilities.

Residents struggling with electricity, water

Speaking with Blueprint Weekend, a tailor, who plies his trade in Jahi 2 community, Mr. Majeed Shobowale, said though the community enjoys a relatively stable power supply, one of its transformers, where his power supply comes from is overloaded, and triples off regularly. This, he noted, may throw the affected areas in the community into darkness for days.

According to Shobowale, the development is taking a toll on his business, adding that he relies heavily on the generating set, which according to him, is not profitable.

He said, “In Jahi 2 community, we have the three transformers which make us enjoy a better power supply. But one of the transformers where the power supply to my shop comes from is overloaded, and once or twice a week it will triple off. Once this occurs, we may be in darkness in the affected area for days. Anytime this occurs, I will switch over to the generating set to power my business. However, this is taking a toe on my profit”.

Another resident of the community, Mr. Michael John, a Teacher, told our Reporter that he relies on water vendors known as Mai Ruwa for water supply, but lamented the rising hike in their fees.

“Like many of us in this community, I rely on the Mai Ruwa for water supply, but some of them may frustrate people to exhaust their patience. At rush hours, the water vendors may not turn up and may be selective in the areas they go to. On many occasions, their actions had caused me to go to school late,” he said.

A resident of Jabi Dakibiu, Hussein Hamzat, said the water supply is a big problem in the community, saying that the majority of the people in the area relied on the water supply. On power supply, he attributes the frequent power outage in the area to two overloaded transformers.

“The water issue has been very problematic in Daki-Biu here so much that the larger population has to depend solely on the water vendors to carry out other domestic jobs, especially people that use water to cook and all that. This situation has remained unabated. Going forward, politicians and the government should strive to encourage the drilling of more boreholes, to make water easily available for the residents of the community.

“On the issue of electricity, I discovered that there are only two transformers in the whole area for the population which is growing in a geometric progression daily. That is why you will find out that there is light out in the community for months.

“People don’t have access to a stable power supply in this community. So, I think it is very important that the government provide more transformers to aid a stable power supply in the community,” Hamzat said.

Also recounting his experience, a resident of Nyanya Gwandara Community, Mr. Okwuedoe Charles, lamented that despite the huge amount of money spent on the provision of electricity by the community, the poor power supply persists, claiming that since 2004, when he moved to the area the problem has remained the same. He, however, attributed the water supply challenges in the area to the epileptic power supply.

Charles said: “For quite some years now, let me say since 2004, when I moved to Nyanya Gwandara Community in Karu local government area, we have been having difficulties with electricity supply. We had to erect electrical poles and buy wires we have been maintaining electricity, which is a very problem for the community.

“With what we have used our money to maintain, we don’t even have a stable power supply. I think the way out of it is for the government to come to our aid because the transformers the committee bought, some of them, and poles should be changed. We will appreciate it if the government brings more transformers to our community. This will serve us better.

“Let’s talk about the issue of water.  That is a big menace because it is only a few private individuals that can sink boreholes in their residences which cannot serve everybody. Those that sunk boreholes do sell water, and some areas in the community are rocky, so the government through the Water Resources Programme can talk to the community and sink boreholes every 1500 metres in the area. If they can sink like three or four additional boreholes in the community, I think the problem of water will be solved.”

For his part, a resident of Mararaba, Mr.Lawrence Ogah, said: “The situation where communities not having water is a result of poor power supply, and most of the residents do not have the financial resources to dig boreholes in their homes.

“In some communities, some people provide free water but they don’t give water when there is no power supply. That is a part of the problem. I am suggesting that the government should find a way to dig more boreholes in communities where people are experiencing water supply challenges.

“Government should replace damaged electrical poles and provide new transformers to ensure a constant and stable power supply. In the past, we have experienced light out for weeks, but now the power supply has improved.”

A  resident of Police Estate, Dakwa, Dei Dei, Ms.. Yetunde Oshaba, while lamenting the poor power supply in the area, told this reporter that she had treated one of her daughters for rashes as a result of heat, which would have been suppressed should her estate enjoys stable power supply.

She said: “I reside in the Police Estate, Dakwa, Dei Dei, Abuja. The major issue we’re having in our area is that don’t get a stable power supply like before and it is seriously affecting some of the traders in our area. Now, we don’t get enough power supply to chill out the drinks. The weather is very hot these days. So, some of the things we also buy and keep in the fridge are also getting bad. Sometimes, we have to preserve them through the normal weather, which is not too hygienic and good for our health.

“We also noticed that sometimes when we want to buy something by the roadside, the vendors are always complaining about the poor power supply. The epileptic power supply is also causing rashes for our children as a result of heat which can be easily cooled off by the stable power supply to our various homes. I recently treated one of my daughters who had rashes over her body, and the doctor who treated her said her sickness was caused by heat.

“I am urging the government to assist us in any way they can to ensure that we have a stable power supply, even if it can be for 24 hours, they should help us to have it for some hours in a day.”

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