The intake pipe for the newly commissioned waterworks. The intake for the old waterworks is in the background. Image by Peter Sawyer. Nigeria, 2011.

Last Friday, a decade after its contracts were first signed, the Greater Makurdi Water Works in Benue State was finally commissioned by President Goodluck Jonathan amid lots of fanfare.

With a daily capacity of 100,000 cubic meters, the Water Works was hailed by government officials at the ceremony as an eventual answer to the sufferings of the people of Makurdi caused by the shortage of clean water.

Notably, there was no test run of the plant, which is customary during the commissioning of a water project. This is because there is not a functional pipe network. A contract to install one has not been awarded by the government.

The much-needed pipe network is projected to double the cost of the waterworks project--money the state says it does not have.

President Jonathan, speaking at a reception held in his honor, pledged to partner with the Benue State government to complete the Greater Makurdi Water Works and provide the pipe network. It is unclear how the federal government intends to achieve this goal.

Days after the commissioning, Makurdi residents report that there has been no change in the quantity, quality or frequency of the water supply, even to areas already being serviced by the water utility.

Project

Abandoned water and sanitation projects deprive the people of Nigeria of a basic human right: access to clean water.

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