By Kayode Ogunbunmi
LAGOS, – Hassan Abdullahi lugged his handcart loaded with six jerry cans of water up the slope to God’s Grace Calabar Kitchen. It was 8 a.m. and this was his third trip from a private water tap to his major customer.
But with no agreement on whether the solution lies in private management or the public sector, there is no immediate solution in sight and public anger is mounting at the impasse, keeping water vendors like Abdullahi busy.
“It’s good business because we all need water,” said Abdullahi, a recent migrant to Lagos. “I make about N5,000($25) a day. I fetch the water from a house where I pay N500($2.50).”
Nigeria, which has one of the highest child death rates from water-borne diseases in Africa, has sought international development help to finance new water treatment plants and expand its distribution networks.
It hired the World Bank’s investment arm, the International Finance Corp. (IFC) in 1999 to advise on upgrades and held talks again last year but nothing has yet improved water supplies.
*(Thomson Reuters Foundation)*