Two months after PUNCH’s special report on a community in the Ejigbo area of Lagos, where residents bathe and drink water mixed with petrol, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has ordered the Lagos State Water Regulatory Commission to intervene.
A letter by the commission to the community dated November 3, 2020, and obtained by PUNCH Metro, showed that the governor asked officials of the agency to meet with the residents to find a solution to the problem.
In a two-part report published in September, our correspondent had detailed the struggle of the Ejigbo residents, whose water source was polluted by spillage from the pipeline of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
The report, while exposing the nonchalance of the NNPC to the problem, also queried the indifference of the state government to resolve the crisis.
A comprehensive laboratory test conducted on water being consumed by the community showed exposure to poison with the attendant health risks of cancer, brain damage, physical and mental growth issues, among others.
Some experts recommended some palliative for the residents, including the establishment of a mini waterworks.
The letter to the community, titled, ‘Re: Killing them softly: A Lagos community where residents drink, bathe with petrol water’ and signed by one Lawson A. C. for the Executive Secretary of the LSWRC, said the governor had shown interest in the matter.
The letter read, “Following the recent publication in The PUNCH of Wednesday, September 23, 2020, and the consequent directive of Mr Governor, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, to look into the matter, I therefore have the directive of the Executive Secretary of the Lagos State Water Regulatory Commission to inform you that the commission will be paying a visit to the Ejigbo community for the conduct of an on-the-spot assessment. You are kindly requested to accord the commission’s team all necessary cooperation.”
The Chairman, Abuna-Sanusi Community Development Association, Mr Remi Suara, said the residents held a meeting with the government officials on November 16, 2020.
Suara said, “At the meeting, they told us that the governor asked them to look at what the problems are and conduct a survey, take samples and interview the people involved.
“The officials visited yesterday (Friday) to take samples of water in the community. They said they would also bring questionnaires for people to fill. I believe the questionnaires are for a sort of assessment of all the problems.”
A director in the agency, who confirmed the development, said the commission was working as directed by Sanwo-Olu.
He, however, declined further comments, saying only the executive secretary could give details.
The official declined a request by our correspondent for the contact of the executive secretary. ,,