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See Lagos community where residents drink, bathe with petrol water

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See Lagos community where residents drink, bathe with petrol water

It kills: Lagos community where residents drink, bathe with petrol water

See Lagos community where residents drink, bathe with petrol water

In this special report, SAMSON FOLARIN looks at how the failure of governance and corporate irresponsibility of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation are destroying the livelihood and health of a community in Ejigbo, Lagos State.

On a recent evening, Alhaji Wahab Olorunfunmi was having a meal in his house on Sanusi Street, Eijigbo, on the outskirts of Lagos.

 

The meal on his table looked typical, but the slightly brownish water he had in his cup was a deadly brew of water and petrol.

Ejigbo, where he has lived all his life as an indigene, is also home to one of the busiest satellite depots of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

The depot supplies petroleum products to South Western states in Nigeria powering businesses, keeping vehicles on the road and smoothening economic and social activities.

It is under the System 2B Pipeline Network, which accounts for 60 per cent of fuel supply and distribution in the country.

 

But in Ejigbo, the depot is the source of much agony and distress.

Leaky petroleum pipes are contaminating wells and boreholes, two vital sources of drinking water for Ejigbo’s huge population of children, adults and the aged. More than 50,000 people are said to be living in this community.

 

Olorunfunmi, who is 74-years-old, says he takes ‘petrol water’ with every meal.

According to him, his tenants and children travel far in search of potable water, but he has resigned to fate.

 

Someone advised me to stop bothering myself because of my old age. So, I just boil the water and drink it. My wife and kids buy water, but I drink from the borehole. Even if it will affect my health, how long do I have to live again?” he said, throwing his hands up in defeat.

Down the street is the home of Mutiat Agbabiaka, the wife of a landlord, whose family relied on a borehole for sustenance.

 

The borehole was one of the water sources left untouched by the NNPC leaking pipes. During the nationwide coronavirus lockdown, the Agbabiakas sold the water to generate funds for their large family. Their exemption from the general malaise blighting the neighbourhood was, however, short-lived.

 

On the same evening, our reporter paid the Agbabiakas a visit.

The matriarch of the house was washing her children’s clothes when the reporter visited and begged to take some of the water.

 

She agreed.

After filling a plastic bottle with the water, the reporter perceived it. It reeked of fuel.

Agbabiaka, who observed the reporter’s reaction, gave a knowing nod with worry written all over her face.

 

“I started noticing the problem a few days ago. I went to the bathroom to take my bath when I perceived that smell of fuel. Since then, we have been allowing people to come and fetch for free. Our water has also been contaminated,” she said.

 

She recalled with pain how in October 2019, her husband paid N200,000 to dig a borehole, adding that the water was good until early 2020, when it started to smell of fuel

The housewife showed our correspondent the stump of the abandoned borehole.

According to her, in May 2020, the family raised another N200,000 and dug a second borehole. It was this second borehole that just got polluted.

Ramota Sanusi, another landlady on Sanusi Street, said many of the neighbourhoods had more than one well or borehole in their households.

 

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