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Published On: Wed, Jun 24th, 2020

Water bills: Army, Police, DSS, others owing over N700m in Niger -Govt

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From: Yakubu Mustapha, Minna

Niger State Government has decried that the Nigeria Army, Police, Department of State Security (DSS) and other agencies are owing it over seven hundred million Naira (N700,000,000) despite billions of naira sunk into water sector.
The Niger State Water and Sewage Corporation said the non remittance of the funds for water used is affecting the services of the Corporation.
The Corporation further alleged during a media chat organized by FOMWAN USAID E-WASH that the refusal of the security Organisations, top government officials, Legislators and some tertiary institutions to pay their water bills is affecting its services.
Earlier, the Programs Manager, Federation of Muslim Women’s Associations in Nigeria (FOMWAN) USAID E-WASH, Dr. Hadiza Muhammadu urged the media to partner with relevant stakeholders so as to address the issues of personal hygiene and water sanitation.
Responding, the Assistant General Manager (AGM), Commercial Services of the Corporation, Aliyu Danladi Umar told Journalists that top government officials especially Commissioners, Permanent Secretaries and Legislators are also defaulting in the payment of water services.
He said the Security agencies alone are owing the State over N300 million for water supplied to them.
According to him “the amount of domestic and commercial debts owed the Corporation is over N700 million and the Corporation is battling to recover the money from these Organisations. You know, it is not easy for us to enter into some of these outfits and then disconnect them.
“We all know the Army Barracks is not a place one can enter anyhow, also, the Police and Nigeria Correctional Services are not places one can just go and disconnect or take actions.
“We have engaged a consultant to begin a dialogue with these Organisations especially the Army and we have started engaging on how they can pay us. The money is much needed and we need them to pay.” he stated.
He blamed some government officials for their ineptitudeness, added that “it is alarming that a lot of them do not pay for using water from the Corporation. It is very sad because domestic water payment is just N1,000 monthly but these personalities are not perturbed because they do not know that the cost of production is very expensive.”
While calling on consumers on the need to pay their water bills, he disclosed that the Chanchaga Waterworks, which is one of the six urban works of the Corporation spends over N60 million monthly and gets only N15million.
“It baffles me that it is very difficult to pay N1,000 monthly for water whereas commercial water vendors sell 10 gallons of 25 litres of water for N300 which is not usually enough for a household.”
The Public Relations Officer of the Niger state Water and Sewage Corporation, Aliyu Jibo Garba said that the volume of water produced monthly is over 1,580,940 cubic meters but the Corporation is only able to sell just 519,379 cubic meters monthly.
Meanwhile, the Head of Customer Care Unit, Zainab Yunusa disclosed that the Sewage and Water Corporation only collects N12 million out of the N36 million billed by the Corporation monthly,
She added that, “this is not even up to half of what is being billed. A lot of the money collected is spent to produce this water but the people do not want to understand this.”

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