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Neglect At Ogun Border Communities Shocks FG Delegation, Begins Borehole Drilling

… Pledges More Intervention

 

Daud Olatunji 

A  Federal Government delegation from the Border Communities Development Agency (BCDA) has expressed shock  over the dire conditions faced by Nigerians residing in border communities in Ogun State. 

Led by the Executive Secretary of the agency, Dr. Kelly George Alabo, the delegation embarked on a visit to several villages in the Yewa-North local government areas, including Asa, Agbelepon, Agbele, Oke-Odo and  Igbokofi. 

The delegation was astounded by the extent of neglect, which has exacerbated some  issues such as the  cholera outbreak due to the acute shortage of water.

During the visit, Dr. Alabo, represented by the Director and Special Adviser on Special Duties, Mrs. Akpohwaye-Abuh Atarhe, took immediate action by ordering the commencement of borehole drilling in one of the villages, Asa. 

The delegation in its fact-finding visit shared its experience after visiting some of the neglected villages in the border communities in the state .

Speaking through Atarhe, Dr. Alabo  said “In Asa, there is no single borehole or well; they take water from a dirty stream. There is no health centre.

“It is even sadder that it has affected the rate of maternal mortality because they cannot travel to where a good hospital is. 

“Sometimes, at the last minute, they have to take the sick to Ilaro, which is still the nearest community with a hospital, but many times it is futile.

“In education, in Asa, a dilapidated structure is used for classrooms, with over 400 pupils and only two teachers. 

“Even in Igbokofi, there are about 50 pupils with three teachers who come from neighbouring communities for a few hours and then leave. The school structure has collapsed as well.

“In Igbokofi, there are security issues. They are continually threatened by the Benin Republic police. 

“They also complain that their water is not hygienic and bitterly about their health center.

“The story is the same: no electricity. For Asa, they have to trek about 5km just to get water. The story of neglect continues.

“Development starts from the centre. Scarcity of funds and lack of access roads to those communities, since they’re located on the border side of the country, are the major causes of the story of neglect.

“The Agency is planning to map out a strategy and ensure that during the budgetary year, every state is able to get projects done within their communities.”

The delegation however, pledged to address other pressing issues plaguing the communities. 

Reflecting on the challenges faced by the agency in executing its mandate, Dr. Alabo highlighted constraints related to funding, which had previously impeded progress. 

However, he expressed optimism under the leadership of President Bola Tinubu and the administration’s commitment to prioritising border communities’ development.

Dr. Alabo emphasised the urgency of addressing the dire situation faced by residents, citing instances where individuals had to travel considerable distances to access water, risking their safety in the process. 

He underscored the administration’s resolve to ensure that every border community receives attention, with continuous assessments to address emerging needs promptly. 

He added that  the agency has initiated various projects to alleviate the hardships faced by residents, with a particular focus on addressing the acute water scarcity prevalent in many communities.

Highlighting the challenges posed by the terrain, Dr. Alabo noted the arduous task of implementing projects in areas with complex topography.

 Speaking on what the Agency has done previously in other communities, before this time,  Alabo said “we’ve conducted assessments. Sometimes, we also face constraints regarding funding, which has slowed down our work. 

“However, we have a new administration with President Bola Tinubu of “Renewed Hope,” and our hope is truly renewed. He’s matching his words with action, so we’re working on budgetary provisions for that, which I believe will receive support, as many lawmakers and senators are from these states. 

“We are also engaging them to secure more budgetary allocations for the benefit of everyone. 

“You cannot be in Nigeria and then, at the border communities, find the country beside you with water and light while you have to cross down there, risking your safety. Sometimes they travel many kilometres just to get water, not to mention light. Therefore, every border community will be attended to, prioritized, and assessed continuously to address emerging needs.

“Some projects are underway, and we are actively working on them. For instance, yesterday, the Chief Executive mandated that we should put structures in place and ensure that water is provided to them as soon as possible. 

“We’ve made arrangements for physical surveys, and the surveyors are already on-site because one of the major problems there is water scarcity. 

“Another aspect to consider is that most of these border communities have challenging topography, unlike typical city centers where accessing water is easier. 

“For example, in Asa village, they don’t have a single well or borehole. To access water, you have to dig to a depth of 100 to 150 metres due to the presence of limestone. 

“Therefore, the terrain also poses challenges for implementing projects quickly.

“ However, we’re already working on addressing the water issue. Even if it’s just one borehole, we aim to provide it within this week. 

“The community members have expressed that having one borehole would satisfy them for the time being, as the lack of good water has led to waterborne diseases such as cholera and diarrhea, affecting everyone, including children and women. 

“Hence, it’s an urgent issue that requires immediate action, and we’re taking measures to address it.”

Community members welcomed the agency’s swift response to their plight, expressing gratitude for the impending borehole installation, which they deemed critical in mitigating waterborne diseases such as cholera and diarrhoea. 

PLATFORM TIMES reports that the urgency of the situation necessitates immediate action,as  the Federal Government delegation reaffirmed its commitment to effecting positive change and addressing the longstanding neglect endured by border communities in the  State.

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