Thousands of people, mostly youths of Jakana village of Konduga Local Government Area, on Saturday protested over lack of drinking water and erected a blockade of the convoy of Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State on his way to Beneshiek to inspect ongoing rehabilitation/reconstruction of houses destroyed by insurgents.
Jakana is in the east and about 35 kilometres from Maiduguri and had witnessed series of Boko Haram attacks, including the razing of a police station, school structures and other public infrastructure in recent past – although most of these structures are currently undergoing renovation by the state government.
The youths said they were compelled to forcefully block the governor’s convoy despite security cover to vent their anger over the hardship being faced by residents who trek for kilometres to buy water at the cost of N100 per keg of 25litres, compared to residents in Maiduguri who buy same at only N5.
Mallam Abubakar Yakubu who actively participated in the protest told Sunday Vanguard that due to the lingering crisis of Boko Haram, many residents of Jakana in most cases cannot afford to buy even a one litre of water on daily basis, and, therefore, resorted to drinking conterminated water from streams and dams which is also used by animals.
“We have been suffering from lack of water, and everybody knows that water is live, during the Boko Haram attacks on this community, all our functional boreholes were vandalized by the insurgents, and as I am talking to you, up to now, government has failed to come to our aid by repairing the b boreholes in this area; we are pleading that Shettima should drill more boreholes and repair the broken down ones”. Yakubu stated.
Governor Shettima, before reaching Beneshiekh town, was forced to stop his convoy.
He then addressed the aggrieved residents and promised that government through the ministry of water resources will soon embark on drilling of more boreholes in the village and the repair of the existing ones so as to cushion their hardship.
He said, already his government has started rebuilding all the destroyed communities to enable the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) go back home and continue their normal lives.
He however appealed to them to be patient as his administration and the security agencies are doing everything possible to ensure adequate protection of lives and property and as well restore peace across the state.