Futa Don Decries Acute Shortage of Domestic Water Supply In Nigeria

Futa Don Decries Acute Shortage of Domestic Water Supply In Nigeria

Wednesday, May 15, 2024 12:02 pm

 Professor Ayo Olajuyigbe

Professor Ayo Olajuyigbe

* Urges Politicians to Stop Celebrating Provision of Boreholes

A Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the Federal University of Technology Akure, FUTA, Ayo Olajuyigbe, has decried the acute shortage of domestic water in Nigerian cities. Professor Olajuyigbe raised the alarm while delivering the 167th inaugural lecture of the Federal University of Technology Akure, FUTA titled “Water is Life – the Missing Link in Nigeria” on the 14th of May 2024.

Professor Olajuyigbe was categorical on his submission that there is a weak access to pipe borne water in Nigerian cities. According to him, “At the national and local levels, lack of coordination and overlapping responsibilities among the different institutions and low funding and technical capacity impede water resources management.” He said the reliance of households on wells and boreholes in Nigeria is overwhelming while most of these facilities are not found within homes thereby aggravating the problems that are associated with time spent and distance trekked to fetch water. He said the effects of this scenario on health and standards of living of the people are obvious.

Professor Olajuyigbe adduced the missing link in water provision in Nigeria to, “Poor water infrastructural development; uncontrolled population growth; uncontrolled industrialization and discharge of wastewater; irresponsible disposal of waste around water bodies by households, poor sanitation practice and hygiene, poor government policy, poor water governance; uncontrolled pastoralization; inadequate stormwater management; weak technical capacity; poor land use planning/lack of water planners; poor cost recovery coupled with climate change phenomenon and desertification”.

Professor Olajuyigbe reiterated that the construction of wells and boreholes has now become a formidable point of political campaigns and subsequent social interventions in the political agenda in Nigeria. He said the provision and commissioning of public wells and boreholes should no longer be celebrated with pomp and pageantry by Nigerian politicians as such celebrations represent a demonstration of poverty of the mind. “The provision of wells and boreholes as sources of water supply to Nigerians by government is an indication of failure on the part of the Nigerian political leadership and ignorance on the part of the masses. Therefore, governments must give priority to sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible, and affordable water for personal and domestic uses,” Professor Olajuyigbe said.

Professor Olajuyigbe further emphasized “that any effort that would increase the per capital consumption of water in Nigerian cities must attempt to reduce the distance covered to access water and also increase the quantity of water from main source.”

Professor Olajuyigbe said that “overreliance on water mega-projects have often failed or abandoned in the country due to huge capital outlay and unwillingness to sustain such projects by successive governments.” He therefore called for the “adoption of atomisation principle involving the creation of small water projects that could meet the need of well-defined water service areas within cities.”

Professor Olajuyigbe said that “Nigerian water sector is bedevilled with lack of accountability, inefficient management, corruption and undue overhead cost.” He considered the private sector as better off as it has the advantage of being able to mobilize funds and manage such effectively. He therefore called for partnership building especially with the private sector in water service delivery.

On the way out of the problems, Professor Olajuyigbe advocates the need to recognise water planning as a specialized aspect of city planning whose prerogative will be to analyse information and process water data; assess water demand; evaluate water quality implications and develop measures for resolving the inadequacies in water supply. He therefore clamoured the need to build Water Planning Curriculum in Nigerian University education system.

Rounding off the lecture, Professor Olajuyigbe urged the newly created Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy to consider the provision of safe water to the inhabitants of the coastal region of Nigeria as imperative and urgent saying the Ministry should realise that theirs is a case of water everywhere, but none to drink. Professor Olajuyigbe therefore admonished the Ministry to deploy Best Available Technologies (BATs) including desalinization even though expensive, as a viable option to achieve this strategy.

The Vice Chancellor, Professor Adenike Oladiji, who was the chairperson of the event, said the lack of adequate domestic water to meet human drinking need, and by extension sanitation and hygiene, is indeed a constrain to human health and productivity, and by extension economic development. The Vice Chancellor, who was represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Development, Professor Sunday Oluyamo, describe the lecturer as an excellent academic with sterling contributions to the development of body of knowledge through incisive research and practical application of expertise in his area of core competence. Professor Oladiji appealed to relevant agencies of government to leverage on the lecture to provide solutions to the endemic problems besetting the water sector in Nigeria.


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