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Students of the University of Lagos, UNILAG, Akoka, over the last one week, have continued to groan under what they described as the biting scarcity of sachet water (pure water), within the campus.
The Welfare Secretary of the University of Lagos Students’ Union, ULSA, Afolabi Emmanuel, “the scarcity came up as a result of deterioration of an otherwise ineffective production and distribution system of UNILAG waters.” According to Emmanuel, “the company is experiencing a breakdown.
UNILAG Waters has not been able to meet the consumption demands lately, that is why sachet water is scarce and expensive.” Following this development, it was gathered that vendors of ‘pure water’ have been reported to refuse to sell to students, unless the buyer buys other things as well.
Residents of Eni-Njoku hall, who lamented the situation decried that at the hall’s shops, food vendors force students to buy food before they sell ‘pure water’ to them. This development it was gathered has forced students to either go without water or go out of their hostels to source for sachet water. Dan, a student of Business Education, who corroborated this sad situation on campus, in a telephone interview with Vanguard said: “We are really suffering. To get water to drink is a problem.
You know as students some of us cannot afford to keep buying bottle water for N50.” The situation however took a dramatic turn, Monday, when ULSA brought in bags of sachet water for sale to students at N100 per bag. According to Emmanuel, “ULSU is on top of the situation.
Though, we are making sure water is available for students at a subsidized rate. We also supplied to some butteries for resale but our main focus is the students.” However, the Deputy Speaker of the Students’ Legislative Council, Olagunju Abdul Hammed, said the scarcity and hike in price of sachet water is not the sole fault of UNILAG Waters, adding that retailers also play major roles in the scarcity and price hike.
He said: “Some sachet water retailers sell to students for as high as N200 per bag, whereas UNILAG Water supplies to them at N95 per bag. While we cannot expect them to sell at N100, N200 is a price too high. The council have taken steps to keep retailers in check and ensure they do not sell above N120 per bag.
In some shops where we found out they sell above normal price, we reported them to the Distribution Manager of UNILAG Waters and they regulated the price.” Also, the Public Relations Officer of the Union, Jumai Fabuyi, disclosed that the Union took the bold step when it realised that the situation was becoming unbearable for students.
“ULSU is a not a profit making body, but we had to step in. That is why we subsidized the price of sachet water that we brought into the school. ULSU will do what it has to till the situation is resolved,” he added.