By Abubakar Hassan

Niger State Government is paying an average of N30 million monthly to Abuja Electric Distribution Company (AEDC) for supplying power to the Chanchaga water works, the General Manager of Niger State Water Board, Engr. Hassan Mohammed Chado disclosed.

Engr. Hassan Chado made the disclosure while interacting with members of the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Media Network, during a day tour of the Chanchaga Water Works facilities, Tuesday.

He said despite huge resources the state government was expending on AEDC, power supply had remained one of the major challenges of the State Water Board in its efforts to provide quality, affordable and accessible water to Nigerlites, particularly in Minna and its environs.

Engr. Chado said with the huge investment the present administration have made on the water sector, particularly at the Chanchaga Water Works, the facility can run for 24 hours but for the epileptic power supply they were handicapped.

He disclosed that they are working seriously to improve power supply at the Chanchaga water works as they were currently discussing with the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to get an alternative power supplier for the water works.

The General Manager of the state water board further informed members of the WASH Media Network that 24 hours water supply to Minna and its environs was not feasible because Minna is now populated and the capacity of the water works cannot accommodate that.

He also disclosed that they cannot guarantee 24 hours despite having the required equipment because they cannot not produce enough water to go round due to the epileptic power supply and as such they resulted in rationing the water produced.

He added that their major aim was to provide 24 hours water supply to Nigerlites and that they are currently working towards its realization, assuring that they would be there in near future with the support of the government and media partners.

The General Manager disclosed that they were currently working on financial viability of the state water board through commercialization to enable the board to be sustainable because dependant on government is dampening the sector.

He said the state was in a serious discussion with the French Development Company to invest in the sector, saying in the next 10 years there would be a new water works in Minna courtesy of the French Development Company

He also admitted that a lot have been achieved in the water sector but with little or no publicity, promising to improve on the publicity aspect through special write-ups and documentaries.

Earlier before the interactive session, members of the WASH Media Network and some Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) tour the Chanchaga Water Works facilities before returning to the State Water Board Complex, Gidan Ruwa where the interactive session took place,  and observations and questions were made while the General Manager responded to the issues raised.