Broken pipes, broken promises on Lagos water stir anger – TRFN

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By Kayode Ogunbunmi

LAGOS,  – Hassan Abdullahi lugged handcart loaded with six jerry cans of up slope to God’s Grace Calabar Kitchen. It 8 a.m. and this third trip from a private tap to customer.

Abdullahi supplies all to restaurant and three homes on street, delivering 1,000 gallons each day.

It is back-breaking for Abdullahi and a small army of water carriers pulling carts over pot-holed streets and allies of Lagos to serve water to millions in ’s biggest urban area.

For although Lagos with 20 is surrounded by water, getting water fit to drink or for sanitation is a struggle as efforts to improve supplies have failed.

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But with agreement on whether the solution lies in private management or the public sector, there is 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 rates from water-borne diseases in , has sought international 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)*