By Ndahi Marama
THE Borno State Governor, Babagana Umara Zulum, recently took to the bull by the horn by securing water for the residents of the state despite threats being posed by Boko Haram terrorists to electricity and water-related facilities in the state.
Major electricity facilities in the town have become targets and were destroyed in recent months by the terrorists to make life unbearable for the inhabitants.
But determined to overcome the prevailing water scarcity in the town, the governor is pushing ahead with the completion of the Dalori Treatment Plant and the sinking of 500 boreholes in the state. This he did despite the more than two months total black out caused by Boko Haram terrorists who destroyed the electrical tower supplying Maiduguri metropolis.
Before the total blackout, which started on January 25, 2021, Zulum had on April 5 visited the water treatment plant and was conducted round the facility by the Commissioner of Water Resources, Tijjani Alkali, who briefed him on the scope of work being done and the areas to be covered by the water scheme. That plant has a reservoir capacity of 35 million litres with four new generating sets, among other facilities and equipment.
Prof. Zulum also visited Alau Dam and Makeri community where he met some of the inhabitants of 28 Alau communities who are mainly irrigation farmers and fishermen, and assured them of government’s support. Significantly, the supply and distribution of potable water in the state was achieved with the implementation of a draft on water policy drawn up by the government.
The development came as the Permanent Secretary in the state Ministry of Water Resources, Hajiya Mairo Bunu Lawan, explained that the draft policy on water was done to address the water problems in the state.
Lawan explained that with the completion of the water plant it would be easier and cheaper for the beneficiaries to make cluster payments rather than individual household payments which are more expensive.
The permanent secretary explained the challenges faced by the residents following the destruction of water and infrastructure-related facilities by Boko Haram adding that this has compounded the problems of the residents following the inability of the state government to employ workers for the sector over the years.
“The few workers at our disposal are reluctant and fearful to run the functional boreholes in Maiduguri metropolis and other council areas,” she informed, adding that insurgency had created shortages of manpower, which explains the resort to the engagement of volunteers in providing potable water to the people.
Residents and beneficiaries of the water project told Arewa Voice that they were grateful to the state government and some donor partners such as AAH, Mercy Corps, ST-WASH and UNICEF among others for the steady supply of potable drinking water across the state.