Nghar village, located 30miles southwest of Jos, the capital of Plateau State, Thursday started drinking water from a borehole, the first in its existence, donated by two private families in Port Harcourt.
The village, displaced by violent attacks in June 2018, resumed life in December 2019, following government closedown of internally displaced persons camps in the State.
Security threats, the village Head, Mr. Mabitin Mallo said have reduced, but lack of good drinking water remains a “huge threat,” he said.
The shallowest water well in the village is 25ft deep, an unusual depth for a hand-dug well. However, all the wells dry up before December, forcing the villagers to source water from a stream nearly a mile away.
The stream is shared with animals, miners, open launderers and bathers. To avoid infections, the villagers dig craters in sand near the flowing stream, and fetch from it.
Mrs. Sarah Joshua, a mother of six, said she falls from trekking the distance to get water for her family. Yet, “the water is never clean from source,” she said.
On 2nd May 2020, a boy died in the village from typhoid, believed to have been contracted through the water.
Many other children, including two of the deceased boy’s siblings have been diagnosed with varying water-related diseases.
When news of the boy’s death was released, a Southwestern Nigerian based in Southeast, instantly mobilized his family and friend to donate a borehole in the village.
Identified as Bayo Balogun, the donor and his friend, Chisom Ezeocha who co-sponsored the project have never been to Plateau State, but were “deeply touched” to know what the community was facing.
“Even though we do not know where the village is or the people, as Christians, we know the Nghar people are our brothers/sisters in Christ. We have a common humanity and are compelled by our Father’s expectation in Matthew 25: 35, to help brethren in need,” said a joint statement sent by the two donors on the project commissioning.
The two, both private sector workers with no links to politics but Christian evangelism, “are saving lives more than the present global response to coronavirus,” said President of the Church of Christ in Nations, Rev. Dr. Dacholom Datiri at the project launch on Thursday.
“Coronavirus, the world’s most dreaded disease killed about 345,000 people in five months, an estimated 65,000 every month. This figure is about 55.2% less than total number of deaths caused by waterborne diseases,” said Datiri, represented at the occasion by the COCIN Director of Information Communication Technology, Rev. Davou Peter Jakawa.
Without water, said the Plateau State Commissioner of Water Resources and Energy, Mr. Saad Bello, “human survival is threatened.”
“A community that lacks access to clean drinking water often experiences less productivity due to time wasted seeking water, and increased health challenges,” said the Commissioner at the borehole launch through the General Manager, Peter Kassam Plateau Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency ( PRUWASSA)
Government according to him has sunk over 600 boreholes in rural communities in the State but relies mostly on public-private partnership due to resource scarcity.
The community still faces difficulties with road an unbridged river-crossings but with the current coronavirus scorch affecting government income worldwide, it is not known when any public intervention will be considered.
The Chairman of Barkin Ladi Local Government, Hon. Ezekiel Mandyau said at the launch, that plans are underway to provide roads, bridges and clinics in the community and other surrounding villages.
However, for over four years, the LGA’s internally generated revenue has barely exceeded N500,000, based on official records.
The Council leadership also appointed has yet to be given any approval for capital projects despite a federal autonomy for LGAs.