Abdul Jelil Adebayo
He came prepared with a mission to succeed and to transform FCT Water Board from a mere service-oriented agency to a business concern. He came hitting the ground running, adding value to the provision of potable water in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Engineer Tauheed Abayomi Amusan, an unassuming workaholic, was appointed the substantive General Manager of FCT Water Board in October 2022. And since then, the agency has been transformed into a money-spinning agency of government.
He came prepared to succeed and since then, his eyes have not shifted from the goal of success. Amusan doesn’t pretend that he knows the terrain very well like the back of his hands, and with determination and God by his side, he has a success story to narrate as he has upped the ante of where the agency was, hitherto, to one that both his principal, the FCTA, staff and customers of the agency are appreciative of the laudable achievements being recorded under his supervision.
With over 15,000 cubic meters per hour, and about 131 million cubic meters per annum, the FCT Water Board can be said to be one of the best potable water providers not only in Nigeria but in the sub-region.
As a government utility organisation saddled with the responsibilities of providing safe, adequate and affordable water supply service in the FCT, Amusan has not failed in that aspect despite the challenges along its path of operations.
He came prepared to succeed and since then, his eyes have not shifted from the goal of success. Amusan doesn’t pretend that he knows the terrain very well like the back of his hands, and with determination and God by his side, he has a success story to narrate as he has upped the ante of where the agency was, hitherto, to one that both his principal, the FCTA, staff and customers of the agency are appreciative of the laudable achievements being recorded under his supervision
He said he came with a vision to pursue vigorously the mandate of the agency which was established in 1989 with the sole responsibility of providing safe, adequate and affordable water supply in accordance with World Health Organization and Nigerian drinking water quality standards to residents of FCT, Abuja.
With four departments and seven operational units and 17 Area offices, the agency struggles to bridge the wide gap between demand and supply of the all important product in the fastest growing city in Africa.
Inheriting a mere 40 per cent supply requirements in the capital city, the task before the GM was visibly daunting. But the seasoned civil engineer of three decades experience confronted the assignment with a lion-like courage.
He, with the speed of light, designed competent workable solution to the perennial water flow shortages by ensuring adequate support supplies from Gurara dam in Kachia Local Government Area of Kaduna State to the Lower Usman Dam (LUD) traditional supply source of the water treatment plant.
It has six storage tanks and 13 booster stations for high elevation. The Board has 55,000 customers that it services. Among them are many multinational companies such as Julius Berger, Dantata and Sawoe, CGC, 7up, NNPC, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, military formations and barracks as well as governmental institutions, and the Presidential Villa, including all falls within the areas of coverage of the Board.
For his intolerance for corruption, he has warned the Board’s staff to desist from collecting cash from customers with the claim to help them pay. He vowed that any staff caught would be dealt with; this he said would stem the tide of corruption among its 1,402 staff.
Before his appointment, the monthly revenue was as low as N195 million monthly, but now the revenue has increased from between N240 million in October, the month he resumed, to N319 million monthly in May, the highest in the history of the agency.
In the meantime, funding of the Board is through FCT annual statutory budgetary appropriation and Donor Agencies. Unfortunately though, the funding has been irregular, insufficient and inconsistent with attendant consequences in slow operation and dwindling revenue generation.
Before his appointment, the monthly revenue was as low as N195 million monthly, but now the revenue has increased from between N240 million in October, the month he resumed, to N319 million monthly in May, the highest in the history of the agency
The infrastructural development plan was designed to be implemented in five phases, which unfortunately was not followed hence the hiccups in smooth flow of water to all the nooks and crannies of the territory.
He said the agency has attained about 73% of providing portable water to residents of FCT, but insisted that 73% is not where he wants to be. He said every responsible agency concerned with the delivery of water would want to increase it to 100% because when you give portable water 100% to the people, you would have been able to address several other socio-economic factors; water is connected to poverty alleviation, to health and hygiene. Water supply is connected to virtually all human endeavours.
The Abuja Water Supply Master Plan first phase is fully operational. The 1, 2, 3, and 4 Water Treatment Plants, WTPs, are fully operational, while six Storage Tanks at periphery of the city (2,3,4 and 5 are completed, while 1 and 6 are under construction which are located at Katampe, Maitama, Asokoro, Apo, and Lokogoma Districts of Abuja.
It has Trunk mains for raw water from LUD to WTP and Trunk mains for raw water from Gurara to LUD. Also, there are associated trunk mains for treated water and 13 booster stations for high elevation, Satellite towns and University of Abuja located at Maitama, Asokoro, Karu, Kubwa Airport, University of Abuja Permanent Site, Bwari and Gwagwalada.
In exercising the autonomy bestowed on the Board by the Establishment Act 2017, the Board with the approval of the Minister proposes the re-positioning and establishment of the Board’s financial autonomy, which will boost the IGR drive and further request that 35 per cent of the IGR be retained as operational cost to run the Board.
Whenever this approval is eventually given, the Board has the potential to improve the IGR to a minimum of N1billion monthly.
In spite of these challenges, Amusan said the Board is serving the city with potable water, payment of outstanding liabilities to contractors owed, increment in urban water supply coverage and automation of some of its activities, including the billing and payroll.
The challenges are numerous just as it is expected of human endeavours which include: increase in population without corresponding increase in water supply infrastructure. It lacks maintenance manual, lack of on job specialised training and vandalisation of appurtenances on the trunk mains. Multiple water inlets to some high-rise structures and lack of As-built drawings (water distribution network) for some Districts and Estates developed by private Estate developers
Amusan said another major headache for the Board is illegal house connection, ageing infrastructures and irregular payment of approved operational cost.
However, he said in spite of these challenges here and there, the Board is desirous to have 100 per cent water supply coverage to FCT, have 24 hours water supply in all areas of Abuja.
Indeed Engineer Tauheed Abayomi Amusan can raise the cup, clink the glasses and say with conviction that he has not disappointed the mandate given him so far.
. Abdul is an Abuja based journalist who can be reached via email@example.com