By Gbenga Akinwunmi
THE Ogun State Government Thursday said paucity of funds was hindering its importation of chemicals for water treatment, expressing fears of possible outbreak of cholera and other water-borne diseases.
The Commissioner for Information, Mr. Sina Kawonise, at a briefing, said the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, had threatened total blackout in the governorâ€™s office due to a debt of N82 million.
Kawonise, who described the state of affairs in Ogun as â€œemergency situation,â€™â€™ attributed it to the inability of the State House of Assembly to approve the supplementary budget.
He noted that N400 million was proposed for the importation of the chemicals in the 2010 budget but the House approved N147million. He said â€œthe bill had virtually grounded the business of governance.â€
He explained that the state was in dire need of some water treatmentÂ chemicals, as the one purchased in 2007 had been exhausted, adding that the situation has forced the executive arm of government to include the balance in the supplementary appropriation bill.
The General Manager, Ogun State Water Corporation, Mrs Cecilia Olajide, said the chemicals procured in June 2007 had been exhausted since June 2010.
She said, more than N400 million was required for another consignment which would last for another three years, stressing that it would take a minimum of three months to get the materials imported into the country.â€
Kawonise disclosed that the state government received letter from PHCN on July 8, threatening to cut power supply to all ministries, agencies, parastatals and water works in the state.
According to him, â€œIf something is not done, the whole state may be shut down in term of electricity and water supply. This is not good for the security of the state.â€™â€™ The State Commissioner for Health, Dr Kunle Salako, who likened the lack of water supply to the state to a war situation.
â€œFor us in the health sector, we are alarmed at the impending danger of guineaworm and other water-borne diseases. Not having water supply is like being at war with ourselves,â€™â€™ Salako lamented.