The situation in the country has not so far created a moment for laughter as more and more people are complaining about the severe hardship they are going through. It involves the scarcity of petroleum products, which has reduced residents to trekkers of some sort, even when it involves long distances; inadequate power supply that has turned the nation into a huge cave of darkness. In addition recently is the shortage of water which has suddenly begun to ravage most parts of Lagos.
“I was privileged to visit a friend at the Onipetesi Estate, along the Lagos Abeokuta Expressway, recently. At a time, I felt like using his toilet, and what I encountered was better imagined. The water cistern was more like filled to the brim with all kinds of faeces; different shapes, sizes and colours. I let out a scream which brought my friend and his colleagues running to my rescue. They were surprised to see that I shouted just because I ran into faeces. To them, it was a normal sight; something they were used to,” a resident of Abeokuta told our correspondent.
A further enquiry revealed that the area, in fact the entire communities inhabiting the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, which include Mangoro, Cement, Egbeda, Abule Egba, Dopemu, Alagbado among others, have been experiencing severe shortage of water. It has gone so bad that residents have to trek distances in search of water.
At the Onipetesi axis, where it seems to be biting harder, residents complain that the absence of water is the last straw that breaks the camel’s back, saying that they have been going through tough times in recent times, following the current economic crunch occasioned by the fuel scarcity.
“All this problems are a direct consequence of the power situation. The fact that there is NEPA problem has been compounded by lack of petrol to power our generators, which in effect is used to operate the bole holes. This has made it extremely difficult to get the normal bolehole water for house hold use. More so, the so called ‘pure water’ which the average family manages, is no longer within reach. It is completely becoming frustrating. Honestly, we are looking for the nearest stream or even river to go in search of water,” a resident of Onipetesi, who gave his name as Geofry, said.
While the people of the community lament the new face of ‘oppression’ as they called it, it is not yet known when the situation will improve. This is as a cross section of the residents has said that the future looked gloom.
It will recalled that the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, during the harder days of the fuel scarcity, announced that the long queues at fuel stations will come to an end in May. But, the Minister came under serious attack, to the extent that he was invited by the National Assembly for questioning. In an apparent desire to please the people, he said what they wanted to hear, saying that the scarcity will end on April 7. That was on March 28. Now this is May. It seems the Minister’s assessment is factual.
In the Mangoro area, residents were seen trekking long distances to where a particular borehole was noticed to be functional. The queue noticed was akin to the queues at the filling stations where cars, bikes as well as generators stand on line waiting for their turns.
“I have been standing here for God knows how long, hoping it will get to my turn. In my house right now, not even a drop exists, and there seems to be nowhere else to go in search of water. All the companies around have shut their gates against us because the people were coming in droves, and they felt they couldn’t take the risk,” a woman, who called herself Tinuke, said as she hung at a distance watching her cans on the queue.
The Boss’ investigation at one of the companies along the expressway revealed that the management’s decision to lock their gates was as a result of security issues.
“The people were coming in their hundreds and there was need for us to take precaution. The fact that we wish to do good does not mean we should permit security lapse. So for security purposes, we have to stop for a while. It is not as if the company is shutting anybody out; we just wish to put a few things in order. You know the country is not very safe at the moment,” a security official told The Boss.
But most residents have turned to their representatives in both the Lagos State House of Assembly and the National Assembly, asking what happens to contingency allowances they collect, stressing that such allowances are supposedly meant for the development of the areas. Some of them were of the opinion that this is the time they need their representatives more than ever.
“We know that our representatives in both the House of Assembly and National Assembly collect money on our behalf for development of our rural areas. How come we cannot feel their impact, even now that we need them more than ever? I don’t know what it will take to procure heavy duty generator to pump water since it not possible to have tap water,” a shop owner at Iyana Ipaja said.
At the Egbada area, it was discovered that most wells, which had formed the alternative source of water, or in most cases, the major source of water, had dried up, making it almost impossible for residents to do anything with water.
“Here, we buy water we use for any purpose; plate washing, bathing, cooking and so on. Most of the wells in this area are dried up, and those that can still afford one keeps it under lock and key. Searching for water here is like searching for diamond, and it is something we cannot do without,” a woman, who was called Mama Ndidi said.
A mild short drama played out as The Boss was busy with the respondents when a young girl mistakenly kicked and threw away some water, not all, from the bucket of an elderly woman. She turned in obvious anger, and rained abuses on the young girl, even as bystanders were appealing to her to take it easy to no avail. She said in part:
“Is it your father that will provide water for me after you have thrown this one away, oloshi.”
That explains the frustration that has become common place in most parts of the Lagos metropolis as a result of the inability to find water.
The situation with the fact rain has not fallen in recent times. This was reversed on Friday as heavy downpour blessed the entire Lagos city.
The Boss’ investigation in some of the areas, especially Mangoro and Onipetesi, revealed that residents trooped out en masse with plenty water containers to fetch water, saying they have to fetch as much as they could as no one knows when the next rain will fall, or when situations will improve so that there will fuel to pump water since electricity companies are out of it.
A source at the Lagos Water Corporation along the LASU/Isheri Road, who prefers anonymity confided in the medium, saying that the situation in the country, especially in Lagos, also affects agencies and parastatals.
“We also depend on fuel to function, even as the electricity companies are not forthcoming with their services. And now, it is largely difficult to come across fuel at a price that is friendly,” he said.
The crisis is not only limited to areas as itemized; many areas in the metropolis are practically living without water, which for all intent and purpose, is very essential.
“The government should come to our aid as soon as possible before people start drinking their urine,” Wale, a resident at Dopemu said.
Well, it takes someone who drank water to produce urine, meaning that if events continue the way they are, there will be no urine to produce.