The residents of Makurdi metropolis have expressed concern about what they call a hike in the price of water by water vendors popularly known as “Mairuwa”.
A cross-section of residents who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday said that the price of water has doubled since the beginning of February.
While some residents attributed the increase in the price of water to the dry season, some attributed it to both increases in the price and scarcity of fuel.
Mr Emmanuel Odalechi noted that he used to buy the truckload of water, consisting of 10 jerrycans at the rate of N200 but it has gone up to N400.
Odalechi said that scarcity of fuel and the increase in the fuel pump price might not also be unconnected with the increase in the price of water.
“So many people who have boreholes and sell to `mairuwa have closed down because there is no fuel to power water pumping machine.
“Sometimes with your money you do not even see mairuwa to buy from so I have to go in search of them at the place they usually queue for water to plead with any mairuwa to sell to me.
“I wait for him to fetch and convey both he and the water home in my car and still pay the same amount of N400 to avoid somebody else buying the water on his way to my house,” Odalechi explained.
Mrs. Deborah Onche said that the scarcity of water “is biting harder than even scarcity of money to buy it.
“My mairuwa customer used to sell water to me at the rate of N250 because my house is a bit far from where he gets the water but he has increased the price to N500 since February”.
Miss Alice Bua, a youth corp member, said that sometimes she would call her “mairuwa” customer from morning till night to supply her water but would never show up.
“What usually happens is that other people entice them with the bigger amount on their way and they sell, thinking that they can quickly go back and get their customer’s own but they go back and the queue may be too long for them to get another.
“Some of them that are honest will promise you against the next day while the dishonest ones can either go to River Benue or fetch from well and bring for you at the same amount of N400.
“I had to buy two bags of sachet water to bathe yesterday because I was tired of waiting for mairuwa who eventually never showed up till this morning,” Bua explained.
However, some “mairuwa” who also spoke with NAN complained that many of the boreholes had packed up because of the dry season, saying that it was difficult to source water.
Some of the “mairuwa” –Malam Faruk Abubakar, Aminu Usman, and Sadik Abdullahi — said that they used to buy a truck of water at the rate of N100 from boreholes during the rainy season but borehole owners increased the price to N200 during the last week of January.
They said that the increase by borehole owners coupled with the recent increase in fuel price led to the closure of some boreholes.
A borehole owner, Mrs Iveren Kumbur, said that scarcity of fuel, as well as the dry season, contributed to the increase in the price of water.
Kumbur said that she bought fuel at the rate of N400 per litre from the black market so she had to increase the price of water to be able to get her money back with a little interest.
“Since the beginning of this dry season, my own borehole cannot pump water once the sun is out so I can only pump water either early in the morning or late at night which has also contributed to the scarcity of water,” she explained.