TWO days after The ICIR published an investigation on the plight of Manderegi residents whose source of water supply was contaminated by effluents from Nestle’s water factory, the multinational corporation completed a water project in the community it had initially abandoned.
Following the investigative report on lack of access to potable water in the community, the management of Nestle’s Water factory, Abaji led by Victoria Uwadoka, Nestle Nigeria Public affairs Manager visited the community on April 30, to install a generating plant that would pump water daily.
They also promised to provide fuel to power the generating plant until the faulty solar-powered plant which had been installed earlier was fixed.
The water borehole project which had been launched in January was not functional until The ICIR report shed light on the neglected water project.
On Wednesday, when The ICIR visited the community the taps were fully functional with several women fetching water who told the reporter that water supply has been consistent since the plant was installed.
Speaking to The ICIR, Edith a resident in the community was excited with the prospects of having water close to her home since she no longer walks a long distance to get water.
“Sincerely, I am very happy to have water very close to my house unlike before when we will have to walk to the stream for over thirty minutes to get water and when we need to wash clothes we have to take our clothes to the stream to wash unless you want to make five or six trips to the stream,” she said.
She was hopeful that the borehole water project will offer a lasting solution to the water problem in the community.
“I believe that this borehole will continue to function for a long time so we will be relieved from the stress we go through to have water in our houses,” she told The ICIR.
Salihu Yehuza, another resident in the community said the borehole will increase the productivity of people in the community.
“At least, for now, we no longer have to travel very far to get water. We save that energy and put it into a productive aspect of our lives,” he said.
The ICIR reporter also observed that the school toilet in LGEA Primary School, Manderegi which was previously under locks when the reporter first visited in March has been open to pupils since the borehole became functional.
Garba Seidu, the community chief was sceptical about the sustainability prospects of the project but he was happy that water was accessible to his people.
“Its good we are getting water but I don’t know how long it is going to last. When Nestle officials came they told me they would be responsible for buying fuel to power the generating plant to pump water until the solar-powered engine is fixed.
“I also wanted them to take water to the other part of the community where people have to cross the highway to fetch water from here and they promised to look into it. I just believe this borehole will provide a final solution to our water problem,” he said with optimism.
The ICIR contacted Oluwafemi Ojo, the human resource manager at Nestle Waters, Abaji to ascertain the scope of completion of the water project carried out in the community.
“I can’t give you any details about it but someone will contact you this issue,” he said.
However, the reporter received an email from Nestle Nigeria Public Affairs Manager stating that the reporter should fix a convenient time for an interview session.
But subsequently, the email sent by The ICIR has not been replied, also calls and a text message were also not answered at the time of filing this report.
Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.