How Benue residents depend on shallow pits for contaminated drinking water

How Benue residents depend on shallow pits for contaminated drinking water

Sahara Reporters

Some communities in Benue States have been coping with the hardship of scarcity of water as residents have to dig shallow pits to get dirty water for drinking and domestic purposes.

One of such communities is Agasha where a significant number of residents depend on a shallow well dug in a swamp beside the dried-up river for residents to get water, The Cable reports. Read

The newspaper reports that the locals have to queue up daily with several sizes of bowls and basins to fetch.

“Every day I come here and see the water dried up, it makes me cry,” said an old woman addressed as Mama.

“Now, not only do we use dirty water, it is not enough for everyone. To have water at all for your daily usage, you will have to wake up around 3 am to join a long queue.”

“And when that happens, we usually fall back on swampy areas for water. That’s where diseases like the one that made me blind come from,” said James, an elderly resident of Agasha.

Mike Igber, chairman of the water, sanitation and hygiene committee (WASHCom) in Agasha, said the military once donated a hand pump borehole to the community but it stopped working “a long time ago” and that no attempt has been made to fix it.

“The saddest tale is that no state government in the last 50 years has ever done anything about the community’s water dearth,” said Igber.

Like it is in Agasha, the river in Ipaav, Gboko LGA, once served the community, but these days, it has dried up and the residents have dug a makeshift well in a swamp around the area. Although the water is unclean, residents have no choice but to use it for their daily needs.

Joseph Agibee Terlumun, the community spokesperson said it was disheartening watching the residents drink the water.

“I was born in this community just as my father was. Though, I wouldn’t know how long (old) this community is; but I can state categorically that I have never seen any government agencies here,” he said.

“It is only during electioneering when some of them will send their boys to come and give us things like seasonings and salt just to vote for them.

According to this publication, in Oye-Obi, a community in the 66Oju local government area, which is surrounded by rivers on every side, water scarcity is not a problem. But while water is always available, the River Obi which the community relies on is permanently unclean; it is dirty and has an offensive smell.

Regardless of the state of the water, residents are always at the river bank to scoop some for their daily use.

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