Stakeholders in the nation’s economy have expressed divergent views on the state of economy in the last 62 years of the country’s independence.
They spoke separately in interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria in Ibadan and Abeokuta on Saturday on the nation’s independence anniversary.
Commenting, Mr Sola Famakinwa, a Financial Expert, said Nigeria at 62, from an economic point of view, is still far from where it was supposed to be.
“Our nation has been characterised by economic depression due to inflation.
“More than half of the population still live below the poverty line, despite all the resources that we are endowed with.
“Corruption on the part of our leaders has made our economy worse.
Lack of good policies and injustice.
“There is no respect for Rules of Law. Lack of security has not allowed the environment for small businesses to thrive.
“Over reliance on crude oil as the only source of revenue for our government is inhibiting our progress, because other areas like agriculture, industry, commerce, science and technology and tourism are neglected.
“These other areas would have helped our nation to develop like other Western nations.
Meanwhile, there’s still hope for us, if our future leaders will look into these directions,” Famakinwa said.
Another financial expert, Mrs Lolade Adesola, who works with L.
A Consult, said that Nigeria’s economic growth had been very disappointing, adding, “over the years, we have had bad managers managing our economy”.
“We have so many sad stories of inequalities, unemployment, currency devaluation and a host of others that caused heartbreak.
“But, the solution to this is for the government to have sincerity of heart.
“You can’t say you are going to curb corruption and then, when corruption bites back, you are surprised.
“What we really need is managers of the economy that are there to curb the excesses,” Adesola said.
She decried the high cost of governance in Nigeria, urging government to ensure that excesses and wastage of resources were eradicated because of its impact on the economy.
Adesola called for diversification of the Nigerian economy, urging the government to take it serious.
“Managing mineral resources and all other things that can generate income for the country and we can work on improving revenue.
“Also, we need to manage the debt profile of the country, because, as it is now, it is ridiculous.
“Though, they say it is not as high as the benchmark, we don’t have the revenue, as debt servicing is taking more than the revenue generated.
“Let’s say you generated N100 and the interest on your loan is N120 and you are still saying that the percentage of your loan is very low, that is a deceitful way of handling statistics, because you do not have the revenue to repay.
“Debt servicing alone is more than your whole revenue and so we must really look at the monster of debt burden and find the solution by increasing the revenue sources,” she said.
Adesola said that increase in Value Added Tax (VAT) would surely drive inflation, because “VAT is paid by the end users.
“Anybody, who produces, will just add it on top of the price and that will increase the cost of the end product,” she said.
Another Financial Consultant, Mr Tunji Adepeju, said that money should be more in circulation in 2022, adding it is a prelude to the election year.
“But, one wonders where the money is kept, considering the amount of money that exchanged hands during the parties’ primaries.
“We learnt some gave out dollars, some naira and all the rest, but where do they put the money they got from their delegates, because it has not really had any effect on the people.
“Ordinarily, one would have thought that the society would be awashed with some of those funds,” he said.
Adepeju said that there was scarcity of funds in the country, which was vividly manifested during the last Sallah celebration.
He said Nigerians were experiencing hard times, hoping that the nation’s economic situation would improve, if the country could stop importation of refined petroleum products and two of the nation’s refineries were put to work plus the one being built by Dangote.
“This may put less pressure on the naira against the dollar, because it is having an effect on the cost of production and this will keep driving up the prices of goods and services.
“And, if we minimise the pressure of dollars on naira and we put away subsidies on petroleum products, a lot of things will change.
“But, it will take the joint resolve of each and everyone of us to do the needful,” Adepeju said.
In her views, the Iyaloja of Kuto Market in Abeokuta, Alhaja Samirat Ibrahim, expressed concern that at 62, the nation could still not feed itself.
Ibrahim noted that the country had continued to be a consuming nation, while paying less attention to productivity.
She explained that the situation had resulted in high prices of goods in various markets, while many market men and women had been forced out of business.
“We have not enjoyed the dividends of democracy that they promised us; so, I don’t see the need for us to celebrate.
“Rather, government should look for ways to ease the pains of the common man on the streets.
“The way prices of commodities skyrocket on a daily basis is sickening and needs urgent attention; local manufacturers should be given a chance to thrive,” Ibrahim said.
Also, Alhaji Kamaldeen Akintunde, the Secretary- General of Ogun State Muslim Council (OMC), described Nigeria’s journey through independence as “a tale of mixed feelings”.
Akintunde said over the years, Nigeria had experienced the good and the ugly, adding that the former outweighed the later.
According to him, it is not a gain saying that the country has generally increased in terms of infrastructure and social amenities for its citizens.
“In all sectors, be it education, health, aviation, agriculture, communication, tourism, sports and others, there has been astronomical increase in the number of facilities.
“The country now has more Airports, schools, hospitals, stadia, while Mobile communication network has enhanced interpersonal communication and corporate engagement.
“The country has not fared bad in food production, though, much is still to be achieved.
“Moreover, our democracy has grown from being nascent to fast growing democracy.
“However, Nigerians quest for materialism, which has resulted in grid or graft has remained the bane of our development.
“The insecurity in the country has continued to undermine good governance that should enhanced our development.
“Energy provision is still a mirage in Nigerian and worsening and has affected all facets of the economy.
” Akintunde said that since in every problem lies the seed of its solution, the three tiers of government must be alive to their responsibilities by being committed to improving people’s life.
“The war against corruption must be fought and won to help in advancing the provision of infrastructure and social amenities for the people.
“Nigerians themselves must stop cutting corners and be law abiding in order to enjoy the dividends of democracy.
In his reactions, Mr Olusegun Dasaolu, the Deputy National President, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), stressed the need for Nigerians to appreciate God for the height that the nation had attained.
Dasaolu, said though, Nigeria had not yet to actualise its potential, it had, nevertheless, surmounted many challenges, including the civil war that were capable of destroying its existence.
He said that mismanagement of natural and human resources had slowed Nigeria down in its quest to develop over the years.
Dasaolu called for a national rebirth to return to the golden days of the nation.
“The problem of the country is not about leadership alone, all of us must renew our senses of belonging in this country and own our challenges, while we collectively strive to address them.
“All that we need is for us to re-appraise ourselves.
We need to think deep so as to ensure that every citizen has a sense of belonging, while nobody feels inferior in this country.
“Nigeria should secure her future by investing in its youths in the areas of education and capacity building, which will enhance their creative ingenuity and employability.
“Our agriculture should be put in its rightful place, as we adopt modern technology in production.
“We cannot afford to continue with rainfall agricultural system.
Due to climate change, rain is no longer regular.
“Therefore, we need to adopt another system in securing food on a regular basis to enable farmers to be busy throughout the year.
“We also need to block all loopholes and leakages in our system through which our Commonwealth is being siphoned to enable us to actualise our potential,” he said.
Commenting, the Speaker, Ogun House of Assembly, Olakunle Oluomo, commended President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration for its re-building agenda.
Oluomo, a Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), said that the Federal Government has been doing a lot in the areas of security and the economy.
He said that efforts were being made daily to address the challenges of the nation which had developed over the years.
“No government is idle.
Every government needs to continue to put in its best.
The best may not be enough for now, but it is not that nothing is being done.
“We are making efforts everyday to improve the living situation of our people, just as we make conscious efforts on the security of lives and property of our people,” he added.
The Ilorin Emirate Medical Doctors Group (IEMDG) has treated more than 1000 patients in the last one year free of charge.
It also gave free drugs to beneficiaries, its vice-president, Dr Abdulkadir Ahmed, told newsmen in Ilorin on Saturday.
He spoke on the side-lines of the group’s 2022 Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference.
Ahmed said the group also treated about 500 patients for free as part of its community outreach at Balogun Gambari community in Ilorin.
Ahmed said the group conducted career counselling in schools during the period.
He noted that economic hardships had impacted negatively on the ability of many to access medical care and pleaded with philanthropists to assist the indigent to enrol in the National Health Insurance Scheme.
He explained that with N6,000 an individual could enrol in the scheme and access health services.
Ahmed is also the chairman of the Nigeria Medical Association in Kwara.
In his remarks, Dr Suleiman Adana, deputy secretary of the IEMDG, said it was poised to give back to the society and stressed the need for health education in communities.
He observed that health literacy level was low in communities and pledged that the group would continue to reach out to the grassroots.
A member of the group, Dr Ahmed Abdullahi of the Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta, also urged well-meaning Nigerians to give back to the society by funding the enrolment of the indigent in the NHIS.
The group was established in 2016 and has 300 members within the country and in the diaspora.
As Nigerians are celebrating the 62nd anniversary of nationhood, some residents of Ogun have continued to bear their minds on its journey so far.
In separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria on Saturday in Abeokuta, they expressed mixed feelings on the political, social and economic development of the nation over the years.
In his views, Mr John Akpan, a Political Scientist, who went down memory lane, said Nigeria had demonstrated promising traits of greatness in its early years after independence.
Akpan recalled that Nigeria was competing favourably with the developed countries of the world, because of the accelerated growth from the emerging Northern, Eastern and Western regions due to the healthy competition among them.
He said that the parliamentary system of government, which Nigeria practiced at independence, allowed powers to be devolved to the regions and they controlled and managed their resources for their respective development.
Akpan explained that the system of government, however, gave way for a confederal system of government which the nation adopted when it became a Republic in 1963. The political scientist explained that the fortune of the nation took a downward turn when the military rulers who took over reins of power after the Jan. 15, 1966 coup suspended the Federal Constitution and began to rule by decree.
He noted that the states, which were created by the military government to replace the regions, became weak and subservient to the centre and there were no longer checks and balances.
“Nigeria made meaningful progress in its first five years of independence, but the gains could not be sustained by the military dictators who took over from the founding fathers of the nation,” he said.
Contributing, a Public Commentator, Mr Segun Akindiya, said that the inability to manage resources from the discovery of oil was a major setback for the nation “With the advent of the oil money, the leaders abandoned agriculture, mining and other sectors which were the mainstay of the economy,” he said .
Contributing, Mr Jamil Abolade, the Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Abeokuta branch, also blamed the country’s underdevelopment on bad leadership.
Abolade noted that the developed nation’s of the world had been fortunate to have committed leaders who had turned their fortunes around.
According to him, the bad leadership has been responsible for other problems like infrastructural decay, epileptic power supply, corruption, bad health and educational systems and insecurity.
The lawyer stated that Nigeria”s population was the only thing that had continued to experience steady growth while other important areas of the country had remained stagnant.
He called for quality investment in the education sector as part of efforts to transform the nation.
Also, Mr Akeem Lasisi, Chairman, Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Ogun, expressed displeasure over the situation of the nation.
Lasisi said that successive governments had veered from the vision, path and legacies bequeathed to them by the founding founders.
“Consider the fact that the Naira which in the 1960s and 1970s, was stronger than the dollar and many other currencies, has now become so low in value, because of bad managers of the economy.
“Our roads and other infrastructure are nothing to be proud of, because successive governments have abandoned them as they pursued after ringworm and leaving out leprosy.
“Our core values have gone down the drain, while our political, religious, traditional and other leaders watch and and do nothing.
“In some cases, it is pathetic to observe that the same leaders and elders who should be the custodians and protectors of these once cherished values, are the ones destroying them.
“A society whose core socioeconomic values, education and healthcare services are destroyed, is in itself destroyed; that explains where we are now,” he said.
Lasisi, however, said that the challenges of Nigeria were surmountable, enjoining the leaders to make the people core centre of governance.
He advocated quality investment in the people of the nation through education, adding that quality of the people of a nation determines its level of development.
Also, Mr Damilola Simeon, the state Chairman, National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), blamed the low performance of the nation since independence on “bad leadership”.
Simeon explained that the leadership gap had led to disunity, corruption, lack of productivity, among others, adding that the situation had resulted in underdevelopment of the country.
“Nigeria has not been seriously and sincerely investing in education, capacity building and empowerment of youths and engaging them meaningfully.
“Nigeria requires a national leadership with the understanding and capability to set the tone and direction for national growth and development.
“Such leadership needs to galvanise all citizens, irrespective of ethnic, geopolitical or religious leaning for collective growth,” he said.
Simeon, then called on youths and other Nigerians to jettison violence and build a united front to surmount the many problems of the nation.
“I don’t see anything to celebrate at 62 other than the fact that we are still practicing democracy,” he added.
In his reactions, Dr Kunke Ashimi, the Chairman, Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), said that lack of proper planning remained the bane of development of Nigeria.
Ashimi explained that the situation was responsible for the poor state of the country’s health sector over the years.
“Nigeria’s health indices will continue to nosedive as long as there are no visionary planning and proper census.
“Until government stops seeing education and health as social services, the country will continue to witness lower health indices.
“These two sectors, which successive governments have continued to neglect, are the bedrock of our development.
“Government has to forecast the needs of its citizens to plan ahead.
“We must take our population census seriously so that we can plan.
“I remember in those days, people travelled down from Europe and Asia to the University College Hospital (UCH) in Ibadan, to access healthcare, but reverse is the case now.
“The reason is that our leaders could not see beyond those days, while other countries put the future in the foundation of what they were doing,” he said.
Ashimi decried the continuous Exodus of medical personnel from the country on daily basis, adding, “if something drastic was not done, the health sector may die a natural death”.
“If we must celebrate our 62nd independence anniversary, it must be low key, because there are no achievements to be celebrated,” he said.
Two persons were confirmed dead while four others sustained injuries in an accident involving a Nissan Cabster and a Mack truck at Iyana Egbado, Itori on the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway on Saturday.
Mr Ahmed Umar, the Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in Ogun, confirmed the incident to newsmen in Abeokuta.
Umar noted that the crash occurred at 6:00 a.
m and it involved a Cabster marked KTU 142 XH and a truck with registration number T-12736 LA.
The sector commander explained that the Nissan vehicle rammed into the stationary truck which had a flat tyre.
He added that a total of seven men were involved in the accident, of which four were injured, two dead while one person was unhurt.
Umar said the deceased persons and injured victims were taken to General Hospital, Ifo for appropriate attention.
The sector commander commiserated with the family of the crash victims and enjoined them to contact FRSC Itori command for more information about the crash.
He advised motorists to avoid indiscriminate parking of vehicles by the road side, adding that “If there’s a break down, proper placement of road signs should be put in order to alert incoming vehicles.
The Federal Government says 42,000 applicants registered for its Project T-MAX (TVET Maximisation) programme in Ogun, aimed at training citizens on various vocational skills.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Ogun is one of the seven states for the pilot scheme for Project T-MAX (TVET Maximisation) Initiative.
Mr Fela Bank-Olemoh, Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to President Muhammadu Buhari on Education Interventions, said this at the screening of applicants held at Government Science and Technical College, Abeokuta on Friday.
Bank-Olemoh stated that 18 centres had been certified in the state for the smooth take off of the free training, saying that 16 were private sector owned while two were government owned.
He noted that the applicants were excited about the programme, saying that at the end of the screening, training would start a week after.
“At the end of the screening, the training will start a week after, the people are excited, and they want to be part of the programme.
“From the data we have for Ogun, the prominent skills that most people want to go for are solar installation, fashion designing and tailoring, beauty and graphics design.
“One of the problems we have is the number of people that registered for the programme, we are only taking 2,000 people in Ogun for the pilot scheme , 42,000 people registered, so we have to screen.
“We are looking at the trade you applied for and the space we have.
Nigerians want skills to improve themselves,” he said.
The senior special assistant said that at the end of the three months programme, the applicants would get certification that would allow them to work anywhere.
“They are going to get starter packs if they performed well and we are going to give transportation stipends to the students that will be picked.
We want to make it as easy as possible,” he said.
Bank-Olemoh added that the centres would be training the selected applicants over the next three months, adding that he was confident that the applicants would add value to the local economy in their state.
In her remarks, Mrs Noimot Salako-Oyedele, Ogun Deputy Governor, expressed excitement that the state benefited from the programme.
Salako-Oyedele advised the applicants to ensure that everything learnt in the cause of the training remained part of their lives.
“There are thousands of graduates everywhere, white collar jobs are not there for everybody that is why skill acquisition is the way to go,” she said.
One of the applicants, Olawale Toheeb, said he was impressed to be part of the programme, commending the Federal Government for the gesture to reduce unemployment in the society.
A 17- year old boy, Wasiu Babatunde, on Friday appeared before an Abeokuta Magistrates’ Court sitting in Isabo, for allegedly stealing his friend’s Samsung Galaxy phone worth N85,000.The defendant, whose address was not provided, is facing a two-count charge of conspiracy and stealing.
He, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The Prosecutor, ASP Matthew Famuyiwa, told the court that the defendants committed the offence sometime in June at about 6:30 p.
m. at Shed Scrap Market Railway Station in Lafenwa area in Abeokuta.
Famuyiwa, alleged that the defendant conspired with others still at large and stole a Samsung Galaxy S8 Android phone valued N85,000, property of one Lawal Abubakar.
According to the prosecutor, the defendant came to visit the complainant in his shop; on getting there, the complainant told him he was going to play football, which he agreed to join him.
“While getting to the field, few minutes later, the defendant told the complainant Abubakar, his friend, that he was going to Lagos.
Meanwhile, Babatunde went back to his friend’s shop and told the younger brother of the complainant that Abubakar asked him to bring his phone for him with pure water.
“On returning, the complainant, asked for his phone from his younger brother and he informed him his friend Babatunde had come to collect the phone on his behalf, which the complainant did not ask him to collect”, he said.
Famuyiwa further explained that the defendant made a confessional statement while he was arrested, that he stole the phone and sold it to a man for N15,000.The prosecutor, however, noted that the offences contravened sections 516 and 390(9) of the criminal code Vol.1 law of Ogun 2006.The Magistrate, Mr Oluseyi Olusanya, granted bail to the defendant, in the sum of N100,000 with two sureties in like sum.
He, however, adjourned the case until Oct. 15 for further hearing (
The Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Fidet Okhiria, has said that the management of the corporation has developed a Train Track Access Framework to encourage Public-Private Partnership (PPP).
Okhiria said this during a press briefing held at the NRC’s Headquarters in Ebute Metta, Lagos on Wednesday.
He said that the establishment of Train Track Access Framework would enable third parties to use the track.
Okhiria said the framework would increase private sector participation and also increase the usage of the trackers.
He said that Train Track Access Framework would also improve interstate business and passengers would pay lesser amount for carriage of goods from one point to another.
“We have tendered the Train Track Access Framework to the Board of NRC during our last meeting and we hope that the framework will be approved at the next board meeting.
“We have set up a team to work with the Lagos State Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) to enable them operate successfully.
“LAMATA had just received wagons for the Red line and hopefully they will start operation before the first quarter of 2023,” Okhiria said.
He said that efforts were being made by the Federal Government to adequately secure trains’ passengers nationwide as well as to address other industry issues.
Okhiria said the incident of March 28, 2022 impacted not just on the Abuja-Kaduna route but on all the train services nationwide as efforts were being made to secure the release of other passengers.
He said that the confidence of Nigerians on train ride as the safest means of transportation was gradually being restored.
The NRC boss said that diesel price had skyrocketed and being a service provider for the benefit of Nigerians, the corporation could not just increase its fares.
According to him, the corporation has to reduce the number of trips on both Lagos-Ibadan to four trips and Itakpe-Warri to two in order to provide train services for Nigerians.
He said that NRC had lost N531million to inactivity on the Abuja-Kaduna route between March and August 2022. Okhiria said that the corporation had intended to increase the Abuja-Kaduna Standard Gauge trip while it would increase Lagos-Ibadan train to 10 trips; five to and five fro.
“We were already doing 10 trips per day on the Abuja-Kaduna and thought that by now, it would have increased to 12, six to and six fro; so that people can properly schedule their movement using the train.
“Regrettably, due to inactivity on the Abuja-Kaduna train which was caused by the last terrorist attack, we have recorded a shortfall of N531 million on the Abuja-Kaduna route from March to August 2022. “The shortfall is from expected income, following the disruption occasioned by the train attack.
“While we are trying to resolve that and people are building confidence, we have this astronomical challenge in the cost of diesel from N300 plus to over N1000 per litre, ’’ he said.
According to him, due to this, the Lagos-Ibadan route dropped to two because of diesel cost.
What we earn cannot pay for diesel.
“We have people providing security because of the situation all over the place.
We have to hire separate security.
“We have to pay them, whether the train runs or not.
“We have to pay light bills and still have to buy diesel for the generators servicing the stations, amongst other things in spite of the inactivity along the Abuja-Kaduna train route and the drop on the Lagos-Ibadan train services.
“So you can see that what we earn is also eroded by operational cost.
Even in the midst of challenges, we also get fund from NRC properties’ management,” Okhiria said.
While explaining the movement of cargoes from the ports via the standard gauge rail, the managing director said that the movement of cargoes with the Lagos-Ibadan train would commence in November 2022..
He said that the NRC management had met with some maritime stakeholders, including APM Terminals and ENL Consortium, to ensure that freight runs on the standard gauge from both terminals to Papalanto and Abeokuta before November.
The NRC boss said that they were also working hard in ensuring that the access roads and freight yards were properly put in place so that the equipment for rolling stocks would be provided.
He noted that NRC would meet with some individuals proposing to use the warehouses and freight yards and was optimistic that before November they would start moving freights on the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail.
Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo has urged religious leaders to stand for truth, justice and equity and push politicians to do the right thing.
Obasanjo gave the advice when the new President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), His Eminence, Rev. Daniel Okoh paid him a courtesy visit at his residence in Abeokuta.
In a statement made available on Thursday in Abuja by Mr Luminous Jannamike, Special Assistant on Media to the CAN President, Obasanjo said Christian and Muslim leaders must work together to watch over the country.
He particularly urged the CAN President to work closely with the Sultan of Sokoto, adding that ”you can both make a turn-around, you can work together”.
“If you stand on the truth, you stand for justice and equity, it is then the politicians will not be able to mess us around.
”I will say it with all sense of responsibility now, if we do not watch it, the politicians will wreck this country and we’ll all regret it, and where can we look for salvation?
“That is where you religious leaders have a significant role to play,” he added.
According to him, it is a mistake to say politics is not for the righteous.
“If we take the righteous away from politics and we leave politics to the unrighteous, the unrighteous will smear the righteous with the unrighteousness that they will carry into politics and we will have no where to go.
“In the next election, if we do not watch it, it may make or break Nigeria.
And I pray that it will make Nigeria,” Obasanjo admonished.
He further said having both Sultan of Sokoto and the CAN leader on same page may make politicians to understand and listen.
”If our politicians don’t listen, may be our people will listen,” Obasanjo added.
Okoh had earlier commended the former President for his contributions to Christianity in Nigeria, including the establishment of CAN in 1976 and the Inter Religious Council in 1999. “In the political sector, you set up the National Political Reform Conference which I am privileged to be a delegate, representing the Christian faith,” he said.
He also commended Obasanjo for various peace interventions across Africa.
Okoh assured that the Inter Religious Council meeting held in Lagos recently agreed not to leave the political space to politicians alone.
He said that the religious leaders would get involved in politics, but not in a partisan way.
The CAN president said that they would continue to give leadership to make sure that the values of religion permeated the political space, help Nigerians to live in peace and work for the unity of the nation.
Okoh was accompanied by CAN Assistant General Secretary, Apostle Abiodun Sanyaolu, South West Chairman, Elder Adeaga, and Lagos and Ogun States CAN Chairmen, among others.
Stakeholders in the South-West geo-political zone of Nigeria have called on the three tiers of government to resuscitate all the moribund Waterworks to ensure uninterrupted water supply to the people.
They made the calls on Wednesday in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria in Osogbo, Ibadan, Ado-Ekiti Akure, Ilorin and Abeokuta.
However, the state governors in the zone have expressed their readiness and commitment to provide potable water to better the lots of citizens in the region.
Commenting, a former Minister of Water Resources, Mr Bashir Awotorebo, said that the only solution to revive the public water supply was for the Federal Government to construct reservoirs and dams across the country.
Awotorebo, who described water as life and an essential commodity for living, said to ensure that every citizen live a healthy life, “it is compulsory for them to get potable water supply”.
The former minister said though, it was not the sole responsibility of the Federal Government to provide adequate water for the masses, it is also the responsibility of the state governments to make potable water available.
According to him, the funds provided by both the State and Federal Governments was not always enough to provide adequate water supply for the masses.
“There are large dams in the Northern and Southern parts of the country respectively, but distribution of the water to the public is the responsibility of state and not the Federal Government.
“The Federal Government can only provide the source of water; it is the responsibility of the state government to see to its distribution.
Awotorebo said that with the completion of Ilesa Dam, potable water would be made available to the people in Osun. The former minister, however, said the construction of Ile-Ife Dam, started since 2006 has yet to be completed, adding that it was responsible for lack of potable water to the people of the area.
He said with the availability of funds and adequate planning, potable water could be made available to the people.
Also, Mr Tadese Raheem, the immediate past Commissioner for Water Resources in Osun, said there was urgent need to channel more funds to revive public water supply system in the country.
Raheem, however, said that the state government spends N500 million on monthly basis to ensure that potable water gets to every household.
He said that putting more funds to revive public water supply system would go along way in addressing the acute water supply in the country.
“States and local governments cannot fund water projects alone, there is need for the Federal Government and international supports.
“Also, looking at the Ilesa Water project, you will agree with me that Osun cannot do it alone.
There is need for international collaboration,” the former Commissioner said.
According to him, the Ministry of Water Resources has been given mandate to ensure that Osun people were provided with clean drinking water, which remains one of the core mandates of the current administration.
He called for more investment, modern infrastructure equipment and polices aimed at fast-tracking the development of water resources across the states and the country at large.
Contributing, an official of the Oyo State Water Corporation, Mr Tolu Oluwasanu, said that the state government was revisiting the moribund Waterworks located across the zones in the state.
Oluwasanu, the corporation Maintenance Operational Officer, told NAN that the state government had also made prompt payment of over N800 million counterpart funding as contribution to the State Rural Water and Sanitation Agency.
According to Oluwasanu, this can testify that government is committed toward reviving the water supply system.
He said that the counterpart funding was also meant to attract over N2.9 billion from the Federal Ministry of Water Resources.
Oluwasanu said the fund was required to provide for implementation of the partnership for expanded water supply, sanitation and hygiene, particularly in the less city, small towns and rural areas in the state.
He added that replacement of the damage water pipes from Asejire Waterworks commenced immediately the current administration came into office.
The maintenance operational officer said that the state government recently procured 1,194 metric tonnes of aluminum sulphate to boost production of potable water in the state.
Oluwasanu said that welfare of staff of the water corporation was also paramount to the state government “just as other state workers”.
He said, “This is to motivate the workers and enhance their performance toward the provision of potable water to residents of the state.
” Oluwasanu said the state government would continue to formulate and implement relevant policies that would enhance functional water system in the state.
Also, Prof. Moshood Mustapha, Department of Zoology, University of Ilorin, advised the Federal and State Governments to utilise the abundant Lakes to solve the challenges of water supply.
Mustapha drew the attention of relevant stakeholders to the possibility of exploration of dams, otherwise called man-made Lakes in the country.
He said, “Dams are sources of dependable water and can be effectively used to curb the spread of more pernicious poverty, if they are properly managed.
” Mustapha said that available facts and figures had shown that the availability, proximity, quantity, and quality of water were closely associated with the incidence of poverty.
According to him, water is no doubt, a very important requirement for the survival of man as it constitutes more than 60 per cent of human body; it also covers more than 70 per cent of the earth’s surface.
He said, “In spite of huge availability of water, only one per cent of it is freshwater, which is usually impounded by man in Lakes, reservoirs, ponds and other impoundments for his benefit.
” Mustapha said that the diverse use and increasing demands for freshwater and its resources, as a result of expanding population, have put enormous pressure on its supply, quality and quantity.
According to him, this in turn is making it to become the world’s most precious resource.
He said water remains the most mistreated and ignored natural resource, advising that if care was not taken, water may, by next century, becomes much more scarce in Nigeria.
Mustapha, therefore, suggested that effective measures should be put in place to ensure that certain percentages were allocated for use of the Lakes.
He suggested that water for drinking and industrial supplies could be allocated 50 and 20 per cent respectively.
“Irrigation, fishing, recreation and other uses could be allotted the remaining percentage of the daily water budget and Lake usage for peace and tranquility to prevail,” Mustapha said.
However, some residents in Ilorin said that provision of water should be considered as a basic social amenity.
A resident of Pipeline Road, Mrs Farida Ademola, said that there was need for the government to repair the rusty and damaged water pipes.
“Government needs to repair our water pipes, some of them have bursted and water is being wasted in the process.
“We usually have water flow once in a while, but it does not get to our houses.
“It is either we are not connected or the pipes have bursted and you see water wasting, especially along the pipeline road, closed to the bridge.
“Then, they should make water available regularly; we are tired of fetching water from street to street,” she said.
Another resident of Agbabiaka, who simply identified himself as Mr Taiwo, said there was need for the state government to revive water supply across the country.
Taiwo decried non availability of water supply in his community, saying that almost every household was dependent on wells or rain water, especially during the rainy season.
“We are all dependent on well water, which dries up during the dry season, except for those who have boreholes in their compounds.
“Even, with this, there is no regular electricity to pump water, which makes it scarce.
“I do not think that the water provided by the state government runs through our community, which I think is not good at all.
“These are some of the amenities we should enjoy as citizens under a democratic government.
Our rights are important,” he said.
In his remarks, Mr Fatai Olotu, the Ondo State Commissioner for Water Resources and Sanitation, told NAN that the state government has put in place measures to boost water supply in the state.
Olotu said that a new water scheme in Ayede Ogbese, Akure North Local Government area of the state, was part of the state government’s efforts aimed at meeting the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) by 2030. He said that Gov. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu-led administration embarked on the project following “a devastating revelation that the percentage of public water supply in the state was less than four per cent”.
The commissioner added that 200 water fetching points were already being constructed across the state as part of the first phase of the scheme.
He said the state government would stop at nothing to ensure that lives of the people improve.
Olotu said that the water scheme, being executed by the Ondo State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (RUWASSA), would provide potable water for the people of Ayede Ogbese and its environs.
He explained that Ayede Ogbese Water Scheme was designed to have five kilometres reticulation and distribution network with a storage tank of 50 million capacity that would discharge at full capacity twice a day with 100 public standpipes, 200 fetching points, while one fetching point would serve 50 people.
The commissioner said that RUWASSA had been empowered to partner with corporate organisations to further increase water supply in the state.
While saying that the new scheme would help the state, t The commissioner explained that the scheme would improve, sustain and expand safe water supply to over 3,000 communities and also sustain the plan for Water Sanitation and Hygiene.
In Ekiti, stakeholders urged the governments to use decentralised system of water supply to achieve optimal success for the residents.
They said that the system currently being used by the governments to supply water was centralised instead of decentralised system, because Nigeria has urban and rural areas.
A development expert in water resources management, Mr Micheal Ale, attributed the non-effectiveness of public water system supply for over 20 years to a number of factors which government had ignored and now causing setback for water corporations in the country.
Ale explained that the centralised system could not work, especially in urban areas where people built indiscriminately on waterways without the government’s approval.
The expert urged government to be strict and remove houses or buildings on the waterways to allow free follow of underground water.
He noted that some houses built on the waterways have been destroying the water industrial pipes constructed underneath the ground, thereby denying many Nigerians effective water supply to their various houses.
Ale advised the government to invest in solar-powered energy as a mean of supplying water, instead of relying on electricity and generators.
He said that the cost of solar system was quite cheap and affordable than maintaining and fueling generators.
The expert urged government to have implementable water policy plan that would make provision for certain water infrastructure.
Ale advised the state government to upgrade water supply facilities with new ones and purchase a more sustainable water infrastructure.
He urged government to improve the salary of staff of water corporations in Nigeria, because human capital in water sector was currently dying as a result of poor salary.
Ale noted that poor salary structure being paid to the workers caused poor maintenance of water infrastructure across the country, as nobody was ready to be committed to the development of the water corporations.
Mr Stephen Adewumi, the Ekiti Programme Coordinator for Sustainable Urban, Rural Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene,(SURWASH), said the state was parts of SURWASH to ensure availability of potable and hygienic water for the people.
Adewumi explained that the programme, which kicked off in January, in partnership with the World Bank, was designed to strengthen relevant institutions, sectors and policies in order to increase access to water supply, sanitation and hygiene in the state.
He said that SURWASH programme in Ekiti, under the supervision of the State Commissioner for Ministry of Infrastructure and Public Utilities, Prof. Bolaji Aluko, few months ago, had stakeholders’ meeting with the Federal Programme Implementing Unit (FPIU) team to channel the course for successful implementation of the programme.
Adewumi assured the people of government commitments at ensuring that the welfare of the people was prioritised, with proper coordination of the programme toward achieving the desires results of SURWASH in the state.
He highlighted some of the project sites to include: the office of the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation at Ikere-Ekiti; Awo-Ekiti and Araromi-Obo-Ekiti, in Local Government area of the state.
Also, Mr Temitope Agboola, the Corporate Communication and Public Relations Officer of the Ekiti State Water Corporation, said that Nigeria lacked a sustainable measures to eliminate the gap in water supply to the people.
Agboola said that the alarming state of safe water deprivation among residents in the rural communities was well recognised.
He noted that rural water interventions suffers from high rate of failure due largely to weak institutional framework in the water supply sector.
“For water supply sustainability to be revived in Nigeria, all the stakeholders must work together to prioritise and address the policy gaps constraining the service delivery simultaneously in the religion because working on one factor alone may not result in sustainable services.
“Many rural water supply projects in Nigeria are characterised by poor performance.
“For instance, the Rural Water Supply Schemes (RWSS) have collapsed and that except for a few areas, most rural dwellers are facing serious and persistent challenges in meeting their water needs,” he said.
The corporate communication and public relations officer, said there were lots of ongoing projects in the state that would soon make water available to the people.
He, however, declined to speak on the plans of the state to revive water system in the state, saying that he was not in the best position.
A civil servant, Mr Taiwo Ige, frowned at the way government neglected provisions of potable water and called on the government to make provisions for potable water in the state a priority.
Ige said that lack of pipe borne water had increased the rate of water borne diseases among children and adults.
However, a Medical Practitioner, Dr Fatai Lawal, affirmed that 88 per cent of water borne diseases like diarrhoea were due to lack of access to potable water.
According to Lawal, this has led to increase in the rate of diarrhoea in children, thereby accounting for second leading causes of under-five mortality.
Also, a lecturer at the Ekiti State University, Dr Yinka Adeugba, suggested the use of Chlorine tablet as a cost effective way of water purification.
In his remarks, a Water Resources expert, Mr Isaac Okafor, stressed the importance of access to clean waters in enhancing environmental sustainability and economic growth.
Okafor said that across the country, access to clean water had remained a luxury with Nigerians often jostled for water from the public taps.
He said many Nigerians had continued to rely on wells, boreholes, rivers and rainwater, adding, “many of these water sources are contaminated”.
The water expert observed that the pathetic water situation in the country had continued to result in the prevalence of water borne diseases, particularly, in rural areas.
In his contributions, Mr Ademola Sanni, an Hydrologist, expressed concern at the continued deprivation of Nigerian citizens of portable water.
Sanni blamed the situation on “policy gaps and faulty institutional frameworks” in the water supply sector.
According to him, the responsibility of water supply in Nigeria is shared among the three levels of government, namely, the Federal, State and Local Governments.
“The Federal Government is in charge of water resources management, while the state governments have the primary responsibility for urban water supply and local governments together with the communities are responsible for rural water supply.
“Responsibility for sanitation is not clearly defined.
The community-based service providers are constrained by several policy gaps that negatively impact on the quality and sustainability of rural water supply in the country,” he said Mrs Funmilayo Dada, who lives at Ita-Eko area of Abeokuta, said, “life can be miserable” during the dry season in the metropolis.
Dada said residents only enjoyed water during the rainy season, adding that most of the wells within the surroundings would have been filled to the brim.
Another resident, Mr Akinjobi Taiwo, who lives around Oju-Ore area in Sango, said residents had resorted to using their cars to get waters with kegs from the few public institutions in the area.
Reacting, Mr Kunle Otun, the Special Adviser to Gov. Dapo Abiodun on Water Resources, said, “Dapo Abiodun-led administration met an extremely precarious situation of water supply when it came to power.
” Otun said that the state government had put effective measures in place to revive public water system.
The special adviser said that the state government had recorded appreciable impacts in major towns and cities in the state in the area of adequate water supply.
The governor’s aide pointed out that many activities were ongoing by the state Water Corporation on reticulation and laying of pipes.
He added that approval for the expansion and upgrade of water facilities was also recently given by the governor to cater for expanded communities, while anticipating and providing for those that would spring up in the nearest future.
Otun explained that the first thing the state government did was the construction of new dam kits, which was inaugurated in 2022 to hold enough volume of water for system purpose.
The governor’s aide said that the state government was rehabilitating a treatment plant and upgrading the capacity from the provision of 82 million litres of water per day to 162 million litres per day.
“The current administration has also sited a 14,500 cubic meter reservoir, which is being constructed at Oke-Temidire area in Abeokuta South-Local Government Area for a massive distribution of potable water supply to various communities.
“By December this year, the plant will be due for commissioning.
We are laying a 6.5 kilometres of 900mm pipe from Temidire area to the distribution plant.
“This is to ensure that the treated water will move from the distribution plant to the reservoir and this reservoir is at an altitude of 116 above sea level.
“So, by the time we push the water there, it will be drawn by gravity to homes within Abeokuta.
“These are part of the efforts that we are putting in place to make sure that we address the water challenge in Abeokuta and its environs.
“Before the end of December, we should have enough water that will go round Abeokuta and its environs,” he said.
The special adviser said that the state government was planning to rehabilitate the dam in Ota, in conjunction with the Federal Government.
“We have an MoU signed between Ogun Government and the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and rehabilitation commenced about six months ago and is still ongoing,” he said.
According to him, there is no serious problem of water production in Ijebu-Ode, saying, “we only have problems of distributing water around the town.
“The problem arouse when the state government began the construction of Ijebu-Ode-Epe Road. “The road was expanded and it affected the distribution pipes and so we need to relocate the pipes.
“We are working round the clock to ensure distribution of water in Ijebu-Ode. “In another one month, we should have water in Ijebu-Ode, because from Yemoji Plant in outskirt of Ijebu-Ode, we will pump water to the town,” Otun said.
He assured the people that the state government would not relent until every nook and cranny of the state has access to public water system.
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Ogun Command, on Wednesday said it had deployed 125 personnel to ease traffic on Lagos-Ibadan expressway.
The Sector Commander, FRSC, Mr Ahmed Umar, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Ota, Ogun. Umar said the deployment of the personnel had become necessary due to the ongoing construction work by Julius Berger on the expressway.
He added that the command had also deployed towing trucks for quick response to any break down or emergency, which might disrupt the free flow of traffic.
He explained that patrol vehicles from Abeokuta and Sagamu were on ground to boost the operation of its personnel and check the excesses of drivers.
“We are appealing to motorists to exercise patience and adhere strictly to traffic rules and regulations as the expressway will soon get better,” he said.
Umar also said the FRSC was collaborating with the Police to apprehend motorists driving against traffic in order to prevent avoidable crashes.
The sector commander enjoined motorists to drive cautiously and cooperate with traffic managers to reduce the time spent in the gridlock.