Water Scarcity Bites Harder in Lokoja as Vandals Loot Waterworks

Water Scarcity
By Gbenga Odogun

The old Lokoja water works premises has been invaded by vandals who carted away electric cables, some pumping machines, and other valuables, Arewa PUNCH reports.

This has escalated the water scarcity being experienced in the state capital in the last three months due to the maintenance works going on at the Greater Lokoja water works.

Our correspondent gathered that the premises situated at the Marine road, Lokoja was invaded last week when some electric cables and pumping machines were carted away thereby obstructing functionality and free flow of water to parts of the state capital.

Items stolen from the premises include electric cables and water pumping machines.

The Greater Lokoja Water has been down for the past three months, even as the state government battles to make it work again.

The vandalised old Lokoja waterworks had been serving as relief to the residents of Lokoja in the face of scarcity of public water spanning three months now.

Members of the public who spoke with Arewa PUNCH over the issue in their separate reactions during the week described the situation as a “very sad development.”

They noted that in the face of the intense heatwave and the need for water to save lives, the worst punishment any man could inflict on the other is the current acute water shortage currently being experienced.

However, our correspondent gathered that some workers of the waterworks have been arrested by the police to answer to questions bordering on the issue.

The Commissioner for Water Resources, Engr. Yahaya Farouk, during a press conference on the issue during the week, vowed that perpetrators of the theft would not go unpunished.

Farouk, who also inspected the premises last Tuesday lamented, saying, “it is sad indeed. I just woke up this morning only to be called by the Acting General Manager that the high-lift pump, which is a major asset within the water work, has been vandalised. The high-lift pump lift treated water to the reservoir directly or supply water to the people.

Yahaya Farouk, Commissioner

He added that, “In the last few days, we have been battling with power fluctuation from the Abuja, Electricity Distribution Company, who has in turn been asking us to be patient and promising to fix the issues related to the transformer.

“This challenge made us unable to pump water in the last one week.

“Whoever must have done this, looking at where we are coming from has made it a sad situation because it is a criminal affront on the effort of the Government to relieve the suffering of our people in Lokoja,” a visibly annoyed Farouk stated.

Continuing, he stressed, “You are aware that the Greater Lokoja Water Works has a problem, and we are working round the clock to fix. The Old Lokoja Water Works is a temporary effort to alleviate the suffering of our people. Unfortunately, the high-lift pump cables have been vandalised.

“We are assuring the perpetrators of this dastardly act along with staffers of the Waterworks that the resolve and commitment of Gov. Usman Ahmed Ododo to provide water to the people of the State can not be deterred. We are promising the criminal elements and their accomplice that will think of doing such wickedness in the future that they are trying the wrong eyes. They have tried our will, and they will pay dearly for it.

“We are using this medium to pass this message across the state and to communicate to the criminal elements that they are anti people and that if they think they are frustrating the government by vandalising government utilities, and that they are only confronting the people with very wicked act.

“Our people have suffered enough. Can you become sad because the government is now meeting up with it responsibility of wanting to alleviate the suffering of the people?

“Despite the little we are doing, as a government, we are still not satisfied with what we are doing and we are struggling and praying to do even more until everybody gets water in his or her house.

“I can assure you, no stone would be left unturned in unravelling the mystery behind this vandalisation because no external person will enter a facility as this and know where to vandalise or to demobilise the water supply to the people,” he reasoned.

However, the Commissioner assured the residents that the problem will be resolved, pointing out that the state Government will not be intimidated, even as he called for more support and prayers of the people to enable the present administration succeed.

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