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Lagos community laments environmental pollution, lack of clean water

By Hauwa Ali

The residents of Baruwa community in Lagos State, are lamenting environmental pollution and lack of clean water caused by fuel contamination which has lasted for 26 years.

NatureNews reports that around the community, all water sources are polluted with petroleum product which the community leader say, emanate from leaking underground petroleum pipelines that pass through the community.

Some of the residents who spoke to NatureNews said members of the community have had to endure health hazards causes by the contamination.

“Before this issue with our water was discovered a lot of people were drinking the water and even after it was discovered, some people were still drinking it and it caused a lot of health issues like skin problems, internal organ damage for some, and a lot of people even believe that it was the water that affected our Baale’s (Community leader) eyes. This issue has been there for long, I don’t know why the government is not doing anything about it.” A resident  identified as Adebayo said.

Another resident, Ogunneye Kehinde laments how the water has left them at the mercy of water vendors.

“We depend on these people that sell water in trucks. They get water from far away  where there is clean water. There is no water in Baruwa. The one that comes out is oily and we cannot do anything with it.

“ What we heard that cause it was vandalisation of pipe in 1993, during MKO Abiola time and since they vandalised it, it has affected our water. We cannot use it for anything.” Kehinde explained.

“All these houses you see, All of us are buying water everyday. We can’t even wash with the water, bathe or cook with it, talk more of drinking it. If we use it to wash our clothes,  it will spoil our clothes.” He added.

The spillage 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.

 Some residents said they spend an average of N2,500 in buying water from water vendors which can last for 3days and sometimes they have to travel two to three kilometres to get potable water.

The Community leader of Baruwa Community, High Chief Khalid Baruwa also confirmed the situation and disclosed to NatureNews that the situation has been reported to all relevant agencies, home and abroad.

“Since this situation started in 1996, we have reported to all relevant agencies: LASEPA (Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency), FEPA (Federàl Environmental  Protection Agency), the National Assembly, NNPC (Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation), PPMC (Pipeline and Product Marketing Company), they are all aware.  Likewise, overseas countries like Canada, European Union, we have taken the matter there.

“All the universities are aware of it, they always come here to study on ecological, geological studies, but nothing is done.” He said.

The  community leader said that the  contamination was not caused by vandals but because the petroleum pipes are rusty and expired.

“The contamination was not caused by vandals. That is not true, the pipes are rusty. According to the experts and geologist, the lifespan of the pipes is supposed to be 12-15 years and they have laid the pipes now for over 30 years and the pipes have expired. Because of rust, the oil is leaking from the pipes and that’s the cause.” Baruwa said.

“We have been on it, when we went to Abuja, the federal agency promise to give us some boreholes. They gave us three boreholes, but they are not functioning, they have not commissioned them till today. They said the iron content in the water is too much and not fit for human consumption, and this is over 24years we have been in this predicament.

“We buy water to do virtually everything from water vendors.  We need government to respond and come to our aid.” He added.

All attempts to get the side of the NNPC have proved abortive as at the time of writing this report.

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