✕ CLOSE Online Special City News Entrepreneurship Environment Factcheck Everything Woman Home Front Islamic Forum Life Xtra Property Travel & Leisure Viewpoint Vox Pop Women In Business Art and Ideas Bookshelf Labour Law Letters
Click Here To Listen To Trust Radio Live

Oil spills sicken, threaten Lagos community

Baruwa is a settlement within Lagos metropolis. It is a few kilometers away from Ikeja and is surrounded by other notable communities like Egbeda, Ayobo,…

Baruwa is a settlement within Lagos metropolis. It is a few kilometers away from Ikeja and is surrounded by other notable communities like Egbeda, Ayobo, Alimosho and Ipaja townships. Residents of the community have been in the news for quite some time due to oil spillage from the petroleum pipeline that runs through the community from Mosinmi oil depot and Ejigbo oil facility.

Though an unconfirmed report had it that there were more than 300 boreholes and wells dug in Baruwa in the past decade, the water found in these boreholes and wells are contaminated with various petroleum products due to the oil leaks. About 500,000 people have been deprived of drinkable water because of this.

Weekly Trust observed that all the wells seen around were firmly locked and water vendors popularly called ‘Mai-Ruwa’ were seen peddling their wares.

Baruwa Community Head, known as the Baale, was said to be out of town but an elderly woman seen around his palace said: “Various government people have visited this place on same issue of water and environment pollution but nothing has been done.” She explained that the contamination of their water has led to the sudden death of some people in the community in the past years.

According to her, whenever residents suddenly develop sickness and are taken to hospital, doctors would not give concrete reasons, adding that the contaminated water has claimed the lives of five members of a family at a time. “We’re all afraid to touch the water from our wells and boreholes because there is serious contamination.” She said the government should save them, “Because our lives are in danger.”

Precisely, safe and clean water is as valuable as gold in Baruwa Community due to the excessive pollution caused by the pipelines running across the community. The pipelines are owned by the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC) and, according to Chief Rufus Agbeluyi, a community leader, the state government and the NNPC are yet to find a lasting solution to the pollution in the area.

Findings by Weekly Trust revealed that drinkable water is distributed via water tankers which off-load at different locations. A bucket of water costs between N10.00 and N20.00. The exorbitant prices charged by the water merchants indirectly forced the housewives and their children to go extra mile in search of water to drink and for domestic use.

According to Agbeluyi, due to the pollution, residents of Baruwa live with the smell of petrol, to the extent that they don’t bother about it any longer. This is after the effects of drinking polluted water most of the time has resulted in the spread of rashes, chest infections, dizziness and other illnesses, particularly among the elderly in the community. He explained that before 1994, life in Baruwa was generally peacefu. In the beginning, some residents went to fetch water from a well and noticed an oily substance in it. They dismissed it, but later the oily substance began to be noticed in other wells. After a while, those who sourced water from boreholes also began to notice slight changes in the taste and colour of the water. In addition, an unusual odour started to spread. “Then, we thought it was an evil omen,” he said. “Traditional religious believers thought it was a matter for the gods and resorted to a series of sacrifices to appease the gods of the land but it soon dawned on us that there is oil spillage. Since then, our pollution problem has been with us.”

A resident, Mr. Nojeem Raji, explained that when others noticed it was not as a result of a bad omen, but pipeline leakage, the community set up a committee to trace the source of the contaminant, which they were certain was oil. “Various efforts were thereafter made to get the PPMC and the NNPC to address the problem by stopping the leakages. The state government was also contacted through Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) with the hope that it would intervene in getting the problem solved. Government came and made promises, NNPC in conjunction with PPMC visited and made pledges some years ago but we are still living with the problem till today.”

The situation has left the people of Baruwa with no choice but to spend heavily in buying water since all their sources of water for drinking, cooking and washing have become polluted. An average family of four or five spends between N2,000 and N3,000 on water every month, Raji disclosed.

Lagos Governor, Babatunde Fashola, voiced his concern, saying the location of the pipelines is not proper and he also complained about the hardship of residents of Baruwa Community, Ijegun and Aboru in Alimosho Local Government Area including Ilado Community at Eti-Osa Local Government Area of the state. But will the helmsman’s concern translate into action? Until that time when the cries of Baruwa would be attended to, residents will continue to live with pollution.

 

VERIFIED: It is now possible to live in Nigeria and earn salary in US Dollars with premium domains, you can earn as much as $12,000 (₦18 Million).
Click here to start.