Tajudeen Alajagusi, 40, smiles as he remembers the days of water scarcity in his community. For decades, he and other community members did not have access to potable water, but this changed not too long ago. It’s been seven months since he stopped going through stress in getting water.
Like many other residents ofAjagusi, a small town in Asa Local Government in Kwara State, Alajagusi benefits from the solar-powered borehole facilitated by Abdulyakeen Sodiq, the then lawmaker representing Ilorin West and Asa Federal constituency.
“We suffered getting water in this community because there’s no borehole using solar like this one. We had only one hand pump borehole before. It was the only source of water for the community. Though it’s still working, but this new borehole has reduced stress,” he said.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, some 1.1 billion people worldwide lack access to water, and 2.7 billion find water scarce for at least one month of the year. Water scarcity is one of the challenges facing many rural communities in Nigeria.
The borehole project
The 2022 Zonal Intervention Project document shows that the federal government budgeted for a project titled “Provision and Installation of Solar powered Borehole in Ilorin West and Asa Federal constituency” and facilitated by Abdulyakeen Alajagusi, the then House of representative member of the constituency.
The water project, for which N40 million was budgeted for its execution, was placed under the supervision of the National Center for Agricultural Mechanisation, Ilorin or NCAM.
UDEME, a platform monitoring government projects, gathered that the solar-powered boreholes were spread across different communities in Ilorin West and Asa. Apart from Ajagusi, other projects were found at Budo-Egba, Aboto, Itanmo, Anifowoshe and Ogbondoroko.
One borehole was constructed at Ajagusi, Asa Local Government. The other one was located at Budo-Egba.
At Ajagusi, UDEME noticed that the project included four dispensing taps and two big plastic tanks. Other accessories include solar-powered gadgets to pump the water and a signpost containing information about the project.
Three of the taps were running while one of them had stopped serving residents.
Meanwhile, a letter from the Accountant General office showed that the project is fully funded and indicates the current status of the project as 100% completed.
Borehole project brought positive changes — Residents
Like the people of Ajagusi, residents of Budo-Egba also suffered from water scarcity. Before the construction of solar powered borehole at Budo-Egba, residents complained bitterly about the water scarcity in the communities.
At Budo-Egba, UDEME noticed that the project came with three dispensing taps and one overhead tank.
Tawakalitu Abdullah,36, a baker, told UDEME that they only survived water scarcity while running their businesses through a ground well they dug in their compound. Many suffered the stress of walking 20 to 25 miles to get water.
“Initially, we dug a well in our compound for the bread business, but you know, sometimes the well will get dried up during the dry season, and we’ll be left with no choice than to fetch water from a hand pump borehole which is 20-25 miles away.
“Bread business deals with having sufficient water to get well-baked bread, but with the scarcity of water in this community, this had hindered the sales of my business”, she said.
After the completion of the project around December 2022, the community handed it over to Yusu
f Labaika, a resident in the community, to manage.
“I used to open it every morning and close it by sunset. Since the completion, it has never given us any problem, and in fact, residents of this community are happy about it,” he said.
The project has also had a positive impact on businesses around. Salamatu Hassan, who runs a grocery store, said the project had drawn more customers to her business.
“I’ve been receiving patronage from people who pass through this way to where the water is,” He said.
Sulaiman Alajagusi, an aide to the former lawmaker, said a robust needs assessment was conducted before the projects were sited.
“When we decided on which community to construct the borehole, we engaged the service of surveyors who provide us with the best place that has abundant water for the satisfaction of the residents,” he said.
This report was produced under the UDEME project of the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID).