Many communities within Gombe metropolis have decried the water scarcity that has persisted in their areas despite the directive by the State Governor, Mohammed Inuwa Yahaya, at his inauguration that water be pumped and supplied to the State capital and all connected surrounding communities on a daily basis.
Residents in most affected areas visited by our Correspondent said, they have been without the basic necessity for the past two weeks thus making life very unbearable for them.
Areas affected by the water scarcity are Gombe bye-pass, Barunde, Nayi-Nawa, Bomala, Wuro-Biriji, Tabra among others, who are part of Gombe metropolis.
In Barunde area, the Community leader, Ahmadu Umar, said they have been suffering the scarcity as a result of the disconnection of their lines by the staff of the State Water Board even when they have their genuine receipts and connection permits.
He said, they now rely on water vendors who sell water to them at exorbitant prices. According to him, ten jerry-cans of water which was ignored or sold at N80 or N100 now sell for between N200 and N300.
“As you see me now, we’ve been out here for a long time now waiting for the water vendors who only sell to the highest bidders. It is very unfortunate that the Executive Governor is being misled or not advised properly”, he stated.
Reacting to the situation, the Task Force Chairman on the supply of Water in the State and overseeing officer of the State Water Board, Engineer Abubakar Bappa, attributed the scarcity to the locking up of the supply from the reservoir due to the many illegal connections on the main lines to the reservoir which prevents the water from getting into the reservoir by a few illegal consumers.
According to him, “most of these consumers take the water to their orchard farms, some for their block industries, and some for their reservoirs for commercial purposes and water tankers who sell to the public. The most unfortunate thing is that these reservoirs have capacity for up to 50, 000 litres, if they are to fill it five times a day, that will be the time they are shutting the supply to the public from the reservoir. They don’t use up to 50 per cent of the water because it leaks away”.
He said, “When we identified these and many other problems, I told the people that in order for us to rectify the problem, we will have no option than to disconnect the supply. And two days after the discovery, I ordered the disconnection of all these lines”.
He said some of the communities who were angered by that decision and also his directive for a palliative measure to send some tankers to their communities vowed that they will set the tankers ablaze. “I won’t send tankers to be set ablaze and that is why they are saying they had water during the previous administration but they don’t have it now”.
It will be recalled that the Governor at his inauguration, ordered that water be immediately released to all parts of the State capital and even reiterated it during an interview after his first official visit to the State Water Board and the treatment plant at Dadin-Kowa, stressing that he cannot commercialize the water supply in the State until he ensures that water is pumped to everywhere.