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How Non-Existent Water Constituency Projects Swallowed Millons Of Naira In Kano



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In an attempt to tackle water scarcity and provide access to safe drinking water to
communities in Kano State, the Federal Government in 2019 awarded contracts to
various companies for the construction of boreholes and supply of wash bores.
Investigations, however, revealed that funds were released to non-existent companies
leaving the projects undone.


By A’isha Ahmad Isma’il


Nine-year-old Amira Usman, a student of Kore Primary School in Makoda Local
Government Area, of Kano State was seen pushing a water cart with four Jerrycans of
water when this reporter met her. Amira had fetched the water from a running stream,
almost 10 kilometres away from her hometown. Every morning, the nine-year-old is
expected to join other children from the community, in the northwest part of Nigeria, to
fetch water from the stream before heading to school. Oftentimes, they are late and
school would get suspended. Speaking on the lack of potable water in the community and
its multiple impact on their livelihoods, Amira’s mother, Khadija Haladu, said all her
seven children now miss classes because they had to walk the long distance to get water
for domestic chores.

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Amira Usman, pushing some of her water home.

This is despite the disbursement of over N3 million (N3,078,000.00) by the Federal
Ministry of Works, Housing and Transport in the 2019 constituency project to Sabon
Ruwa General Investment Limited for the supply of 40 water pumps (Honda 2 inch) to
Amira’s LGA.
The project, which was said to be awarded to address the lack of potable water in many
communities of the LGA, has not been executed. Residents still rely on water from
nearby streams and open wells. Speaking to this reporter, a public office holder in
Makoda LGA, who pleaded to remain anonymous because he was not authorised to
speak, said there was only one functional borehole in Makoda ward which has been in
existence for over 10 years.
“Whenever it becomes faulty, we repair it ourselves, but aside from that one, there are no
water pump boreholes constructed from 2019 to date,” he said.

The source explained that all the remaining water pumps which were awarded before
2019 were abandoned halfway while others were dug but not erected. He confirmed that
residents mostly rely on water from wells while those who are unable to dig wells in their
homes buy from water vendors or cart pushers. The public office holder said many of the
residents were at some point diagnosed with cholera and other waterborne diseases, as a
result of intake of “polluted water.”
Just 20 kilometres away from Kore, in Makoda LGA, this reporter met another cart
pusher in Dunawa community in Makoda local government area, fetching water from an
open well. The water looked coloured and likely contaminated. But it was the best he
could get in a community facing acute water scarcity. Speaking with this reporter, the
Chairman of the cart pushers, Musbahu Abubakar, said he became a water vendor for two
reasons; the lack of a job and poor access to potable water. But proudly, Abubakar said he
does not charge much, as he sells each jerry can for N20 only.
“My cart contains 12 Jerrycans and I earn N2,400 daily to feed my family.” He said the
community had a borehole constructed four years ago, which is now inoperable.

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Well from which some residents of Dunawa, Makoda local government get drinking water.

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A distant image of the well

The District Head of Dunawa community, Abdullahi Usman Galadima, who is also a
health worker, said the community has not benefited from any zonal intervention project
since the tenure of the former House of Representative member for Makoda Federal
Constituency, Umaru Inusa Mai Tsidau elapsed in 2015.

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District Head of Dubawa, Abdullahi Usman Galadima

“If we can get some water pumps, we would greatly appreciate them. Now, there are
communities in Makoda LGA that have no water at all, they have to come to Makoda
town to get water or pay cart pushers to supply them with water, and they buy at N50 per
litre due to the distance,” he said.
Galadima linked the scarcity of water in the area to increased health challenges and low
economic output. He, however, said their wells are often treated with chlorine, alum,

corrosion inhibition, antifoaming and alkalinity control by the Kano State Ministry of
Environment and Sanitation.
Also, at Koren Tabo in the same council area, Yusuf Ali Gatseka, an elderly resident, said
they have one 35 year old borehole which sometimes requires a month’s rest. He said
residents have resorted to using water from the stream which takes about 20 kilometres to
the stream and back.
“On a daily basis, I use about 20 cans (50 liters per can) of water in my household, and
the scarcity makes it longer to get house chores done due to the distance from Makoda
town to our community,” Gatseka highlighted.

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Yusuf Ali Gatseka of Koren Tabo in Makoda


Residents of Makoda LGA attribute their suffering of lack of potable water to a failed
delivery of water pumps by Sabon Ruwa General Investments Limited, which received
over N3 million for the contract. Sabon Ruwa General Limited is a private company
which is inactive and its status remains unknown as identified by NigeriaCheck. On
b2bhint, another search engine that records companies activities, Sabon Ruwa General
Investments Limited is described as an inactive company.

According to the CAC, an inactive company is one that has not filed its annual returns up
to date. This means award of contract to Sabon Ruwa General Investments Limited,
which was incorporated on 16th July, 2018, with the RC 1510565 contravenes sections
417 – 424 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020, which states that, “every
company must make and deliver their annual returns to the CAC.”

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Email sent to Sabon Ruwa General Investment Ltd bounced back

Therefore, the award of contracts to Sabon Ruwa General Investment Limited
contravenes section 4.4 of the Public Procurement Act, 2007 which provides grounds for
disqualifying or exclusion of bid. Section 4.4.2 (d) states that: “A bidder may have its bid
or tender excluded if the bidder is in arrears regarding payment of due taxes, charges,

pensions or social insurance contributions unless such bidders have obtained a lawful
permit in respect to allowance.”
An e-mail sent to Sabon Ruwa General Investments Limited using:
sabonruwagen[email protected] bounced back. The company, which has Muktar
Sale and Ibrahim Muktar Sale as its directors, has no other traceable online activity.
NG-Check, however, shows that the company’s office address is located at: No. 6 Kard
Shops, Gandu Albasa quarters, Kano. This reporter, however, could not trace the address
after several visits to the area. Other business owners in the area said they had no
knowledge of such a company in the area.

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The oficial address of Sabon Ruwa General Investment Ltd as stated on the website of Nigeria Check cannot be traced

Scary water test result

On 5th, Nov 2022, this reporter subjected the stream water consumed by some residents
of the Kore community in Makoda LGA to a laboratory test conducted by MAMS
Consultancy Services, Kano. After three days, the results of the test showed that the

water consumed by the community is unsafe, and contaminated with harmful
According to the test result, Psedomonas aeruginosa, one of the most dangerous bacteria
known to cause inward fever, vomiting and abdominal pain was present in high

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The water also contained, in high proportion, a group of microorganisms indicating
amongst other things, fecal contamination and the presence of harmful, disease-causing
organisms. These organisms are termed coliform.

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Stream water used occasionally by people of Koren Tabo in Makoda LGA

A 2019 report by the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and United Nations Children
and Education Fund, UNICEF, showed that one-third of Nigeria’s population drink
contaminated water while 130,000 Nigerian children die annually as a result of
water-related infections.
Coliform bacteria include Escherichia coli, and Salmonella species. When these species
are present in high proportion in any drinking water, they often cause life-threatening
diseases such as typhoid, dysentery, and hepatitis amongst others, as explained by the
Sordid tales in other LGAs
According to UNICEF, access to safe drinking water remains a huge challenge to the
majority of Nigerians, especially those living in rural areas. It is estimated that about 69
million people do not have access to clean water sources and 19 million rural dwellers
walk long distances to collect unsafe water from lakes, streams and rivers.
In order to tackle this problem, in the 2019 constituency projects, the Federal Ministry of
Works, Housing and Transport awarded the sum of N9, 180.000 to Azaico Construction
Nig. Limited for the construction of 30 water pumps of 21 inches in Fassi ward of Kibiya
local government area of Kano State. This reporter found that the project was not
The Village Head of Fassi, Ado Sa’adu said there were no water pump and wash bore
projects in the community. Sa’adu said: “We dig wells. At some places the water is
drinkable, and other places it is not, but we have drinkable ones mostly since we have a
sandy soil, the water is usually good.”
He however said they would prefer a borehole adding that, “even just five boreholes
would go a long way in helping the community.”

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Village head of Fassi, Ado Sa’adu of Kibiya LGA

During a visit by this reporter to Kwantagi village in Fassi ward, this reporter found a
similar situation, as Isa Muhammad Dauda, a resident of the community said the last
borehole dug in his community was about six years back and it no longerfunctions. He
said they have received borehole support from Non-Governmental Organisations to ease
their water needs. Dauda, who sells tea, however, said the boreholes have not solved their
water challenge, as most of the constructed ones have broken down, despite efforts at
fixing them.

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A borehole at Kwatangi, Fassi of Kibiya LGA

Checks on Azaico Construction Nig on NigeriaCheck, showed that the company’s status
is registered with an address located at No. 10, Gaida Fanshekara, Kumbotso L.G.A of
Kano State. However, this reporter, who visited the address on the 7th of November
2022, could not trace the company at the said address. Residents in the area also said they
have never heard of the company. The email address provided in the contact of the
company on Nigeriacheck as: [email protected] was not active as an
email sent bounced back.
Checks of the company on social media platforms including LinkedIn, Facebook and
Instagram came up with no results. Efforts to track the company’s directors including
Ayuba Alasan Labaran, Kabiru Alh. Rimin Gado, Abdulrauf Moh’d Ibrahim were
unsuccessful as they have no obvious social media presence. This reporter found
Facebook accounts with the names Kabiru Rimin Gado and Labaran Ayuba Alasan but
they had no details or posts.

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At Bunkure LGA, contract for the construction of water pumps and wash bore was not
executed, after N8,464,500 was released to Halliru Gurjiya and Sons Ltd, to construct
110 water pumps and supply 112 No. wash bore at the sum of N1,814,400.00.

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Some boys getting water from a well Bono Community in Bunkure LGA

A resident of Bono community in Bunkure LGA, Sabo MaiKifi Auwal, told our reporter
that they do not have a single borehole constructed as a zonal intervention project but
added that the “boreholes we have were constructed by a philanthropist.”
Auwal, who is a fish seller, lamented that the lack of access to potable water was a major
setback to his business, as he needs water to clean his fishes. “We are very unhappy, but
we hope the government will come to our aid,” he said.

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A resident of Bono Community in Bunkure LGA Sabo Mai Kifi Auwal,

Locating the contractor’s address which NigeriaCheck listed as No.1 Taura Road,
opposite NNPC Hotoro, Kano, was unsuccessful as the area had only residential houses.
Muhmmad Haruna, a resident of the Taura Road, who said he has lived in the area for
over 20 years said he never heard of the company.
After visiting various communities in Bunkure (Bono, Agalawa, and Sabon Gari
communities) to interview residents, the APC local government chairman, Rabi’u Halliru

confirmed that no water pumps and wash bore were supplied. He clarified that the water
pumps in Bunkure are state projects done by the Kano State House of Assembly.
Checks on shows Halliru Gurjiya and Sons Ltd, was registered on 26th
August, 2004 with Registration No RC 605628. Its official address at Taura Road (1)
opposite Hotoro, Kano, has also turned out blank after a visit by this reporter. However, a
search on CAC says there is no matching record found for the search (using both
company name and RC number).

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They’re Cash Cow projects- Expert

Speaking on why intervention projects are not executed, the Advocacy and
Communication Officer, Centre for Awareness on Justice and Accountability, Akibu
Hamisu described such projects as ‘cash cow projects.’
Hamisu explained that as accountability promoters and part of Independent Corrupt
Practices and other Related Offences Commission, Civil society members for tracking
constituency projects, they had observed a lot of deviations, poor implementation and
sometimes non implementation of projects mostly carried out by legislators themselves or
their closed allies.
“These constituency projects are cash cow projects, although anti graft agencies, CSOs
and media are doing a lot in reducing the excesses,” he said. He however said some
successes have been recorded as some contractors have been called back to site or asked
to replace sub standard materials supplied.
He stressed the need for a fair and competitive procurement and bidding process at all
How contractor Allegedly constructed ‘shabby’ borehole in Falgore
In the 2019 zonal intervention project, a project for the construction of boreholes, was
nominated by Alhassan Ado Doguwa, House of Representative member for
Doguwa/Tudun Wada federal constituency, to construct over 10 solar powered boreholes
at the sum N100 million. The money was released to SAT Engine Services, through the
Hadejia Jamaare River Basin Authority.
On a visit to Doguwa/Tudun Wada federal constituency, our correspondent observed
that most of the boreholes in Brunburun, Bul, Falgore, Rugurugu, and Janduste are not
functioning after residents claimed an alleged shoddy work was done.

A community leader at Rugurugu, Sani Umar said the borehole broke down less than four
months after construction. “Up till now, it has not been fixed because we don’t have
enough money to fix it,” he said.
A solar-powered borehole project at Falgore, in Doguwa LGA also packed-up barely six
months after the project was handed over to the benefiting community. Residents of
Falgore reported that the project was handed over to them in February 2021 and by
August 2021, the taps had stopped running. Abdullahi Aliyu, the community leader said
because of this, some elders had to remove the components of the project to store them as
a preventive measure against vandals.
“The borehole sank due to the soil there being too soft. Even at the initial stage of the
work, we advised the contractor not to construct the borehole on that spot, but he ignored
us. Barely six months after, the borehole collapsed and became non – functional,” he said.
“We tried to locate the contractor, our local government party chairman, and our
representative, but all our efforts proved abortive,” he further stated.
Speaking as an expert, Kabiru Ado, a water surveyor at Munib Drilling Company in
Fagge, said the major cause of such collapse in boreholes was due to shoddy works or
inappropriate survey of the land. “Sometimes, the borehole drillers don’t drill to the
expected metres, so it causes inflow to the water distribution,” he said.
However, a Director at SAT Engines Service, Alhaji Saminu Adamu, denied that the
company executed a shoddy job. Instead, he said, the solar powered boreholes were
perfectly executed. “If after the work, there is a problem, even if it is after the three
month grace period, we send an engineer to help them fix it,” he said. Adamu said when
they handed over the projects to the people, all the boreholes were functioning.
He added that: “The local government cannot maintain these projects, neither can the
residents. I would suggest that the government hands over these projects to private
individuals, who would in turn charge for the water.

This reporter also reached out to the project client, Hadejia-Jama’are River Basin
Authority, which stated that the community has the full responsibility of fixing the
boreholes. Mustapha Umar, the Director, Head of Water Supply, of the Authority said the
boreholes have been neglected by the residents who “refused to make minor repairs.”
“Sometimes the fault is very minor, but because they don’t treat it as their property, they
don’t repair them. Now we are changing our awareness approach by training some
community members on how to fix the problems concerning the boreholes,” he said.
Umar promised that repairs will be made in all the affected areas where the
Doguwa/Tudunwada constituency water projects have faults.
When asked to speak with the Managing Director of the agency for more information, the
spokesman of the authority, Salisu B Hamza, said “he is new and answering these
questions will take a very long time and procedure.”
“I am hoping the answer we provided earlier would be sufficient for now, but it would
take a series of meetings with people who handled the projects about five to six years
back to brief the director,” he added.
Ministry Yet To Reply FOI
A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was sent on 14 Nov, 2022 to the Federal Ministry
of Works, Housing and Transport, to respond to issues around the contracts, but it did not
respond to the FOI at the time of filing this report.

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“This investigation is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
and the International Centre for Investigative Reporting.”

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