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SPECIAL REPORT: 200 Years Old Community Survives On Polluted Water, Deserted  Amidst Health, Other Challenges

… MAPOLY may Help If – PRO

DAUD OLATUNJI, Editor, PLATFORM TIMES, discovered Agbadu village, a community that traces its roots back approximately 200 years arguably. 

The village has been dependent on a  polluted stream water, leading to adverse health effects.

 Situated near Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Agbadu village can be accessed through its gate.

In the shadows of progress, nestled behind the gates of Moshood Abiola Polytechnic,Abeokuta,Ogun State lies Agbadu village, a community grappling with a 200-year history of survival against all odds.

The once vibrant village under Obafemi-Owode local government area of Ogun State, now haunted by the remnants of abandoned houses, resonates with the heart-wrenching plea for help. 

Some houses stood deserted, relics of a past, slowly fading away. Aged women, resilient in their plight were seen  cooking outside, revealing the  tales of a community battling not only the abandonment of its homes but also the perilous reality of consuming contaminated water.

Segun Ayedun and Tony, two young men from the village, guided this  reporter to the sole source of water – a stream tainted with danger. Dirty, coloured, and emitting a pungent smell, the stream serves as a lifeline for Agbadu, despite its lethal attributes. 

Upon visiting the stream, a  palm tree was sighted marking  a boundary, and  a stark reminder that venturing beyond the area may  spell  potential doom.

Further findings showed that Agbadu is not alone in this plight. Agejo and Adekanbi villages, neighbouring kin, share the same fate.

While Adekanbi was fortunate to have a well sunk by a religious body, the others, including Agbadu, still rely on the aged and dirty streams.

The consequences are dire; villagers suffer from stomach issues, rashes, and even guinea worm infestations.

PLATFORM TIMES’s investigation revealed that attempts to break free from the contaminated water have been futile.

It was further gathered that despite that the hospitalized residents were warned to avoid the water, they found  themselves compelled to return to the stream due to a lack of alternatives. 

Even the Baale of Agbadu, an 82-year-old leader, and his two wives consume the water after applying alum as a makeshift purifier.

Despite its proximity to the state capital, the village is shrouded in darkness each night, having never enjoyed a day of electricity since its establishment. 

The lack of healthcare exacerbates their hardships, forcing villagers to travel kilometers to Oke-Ilewo, for medical attention.

Chief Michael Bamgbose, the Baale, a witness to 82 years of Agbadu’s history, shares a grim reality. 

PLATFORM TIMES gathered that the village, relying on a stream dug by forefathers, lost the clean water provided by MAPOLY during its move to Ipokia. Despite promises, government attention remains elusive.

As the village pleads for assistance, echoing the Polytechnic’s history of aid, the desperate cry rings out for a borehole – a lifeline that could quench both the thirst of Agbadu and the enduring legacy of its resilient people.

Chief Bamgbose stated, “I am the Baale of Agbadu village, aged 82, assuming the position on July 1, 2023. Our village, rooted in a history spanning 200 years, holds a water source crafted by our forefathers, including a stream utilized for two centuries.

“Subsequently, MAPOLY was founded, introducing a borehole water supply. However, as the Polytechnic faced relocation to Ipokia, the water pipe was sealed. 

“Despite attempts to seek assistance from the Oke-Mosan governor’s office, our endeavors have been in vain.

“ Some students approached officials at Oke-Mosan, who assured assistance but haven’t materialized.

“Compelled to resort to the stream, we face health challenges such as guinea worm, despite efforts to purify the water with alum. A borehole or even a well would provide much-needed relief, putting an end to the consumption of contaminated water.

“Beyond this, our village lacks electricity and a hospital. Regrettably, the Polytechnic has refused to share their transformer with us.”

… I Have Relocated My Family -Resident

 

Segun Ayedun, a resident of the village for 26 years, expressed serious health concerns related to the water, prompting him to relocate his family. 

He emphasised his worry about his father’s health, particularly regarding stomach issues, underscoring the urgency for government assistance.

Despite the challenges faced by the residents, Ayedun emphasised that access to clean water remains a significant issue in Agbadu, necessitating immediate government intervention. 

He shared his personal experience, stating, “I’ve lived in this village for 26 years, but had to move my children elsewhere due to water-related health problems.

“ I earnestly appeal to the government to provide a borehole or well for the community.”

Ayedun continued, “My father, who is a farmer and brought us here, is over 70 years old and frequently complains of stomach aches. Even my mother left for Obafe due to these concerns.”

I Have Spent 10 Years Here- Resident 

Another resident, Tony, residing in the village for nearly 10 years, highlighted the adverse effects of the water situation on residents, leading to a drastic population decline from 500 to 50.

 He emphasised the pressing need for the government to supply a borehole, establish a hospital, and provide electricity.

 Tony pointed out that many residents have left the village due to water scarcity, reinforcing the urgency of government intervention.

Tony, who arrived in 2014, expresses concern about the dwindling population and urges politicians to address water-related issues. Persistent health problems are attributed to the lack of clean water, as advised by the Primary Health Centre.

He emphasised, “In this village, we lack almost everything, but our primary challenge is water, a major concern that has persisted. 

The hope is for the government to provide clean water, addressing this critical need. I arrived in 2014 due to my elder brother, who left with his family because of the water scarcity.

“I chose to stay behind, hoping to offer assistance to the villagers who have been good to me. I am from Benue and work as a farmer, cultivating cassava, maize, and pepper. 

The absence of electricity, hospitals, and clean water forces us to drink contaminated water, resulting in adverse reactions.

 Many suffer from stomach aches, and numerous children develop rashes on their bodies.

“At Oke-Ilewo PHC, we were advised to avoid the water due to its negative effects. My family, including my wife and children, experience reactions after consuming it. Stomach aches and rashes are common issues.

“Initially, our village had around 500 inhabitants, but now we are reduced to fewer than 50. I arrived here in 2014 from Benue. 

Although my elder brother, Alice, brought me here, he has since left. Despite the challenges, I remain hopeful, staying to potentially contribute to the welfare of this village.

“During elections, politicians visit, but they often neglect to address the water crisis. I have never seen Olumide Osoba, a member of House of Representatives ,representing the area  and others here.”

…My 40 Years Experience,Tough -Baale’s Wife 

Oluyemi Bamgbose, the second wife of the Baale, revealed that she has resided in the village for 40 years.

“ She shared her concerns about health issues arising from the water and appealed for government assistance in drilling a borehole and providing electricity.

“I’ve been living in this village for 40 years, and during this time, I’ve been drinking the water, experiencing reactions like stomachaches and diarrhea.

“People who left the village couldn’t cope without water. We used to fetch water from Poly, but due to strikes and irregular power supply, we couldn’t access water anymore.

“We tried Adekanbi village, but their water source was depleted.

“We urgently need the government’s support to sink a borehole and provide electricity.

“Before installing solar street lights, by 8:00 pm, everyone would be in their homes asleep, especially during rain. 

“The Baale facilitated the installation of four street solar lights, enhancing security.

“Before the street lights, suspected kidnappers frequented the village, causing fear among us, especially leaving our children at home.”

I Started Drinking Stream Water 50 Years Ago- Baale’s  First Wife 

Alice Bamgbose, the first wife of the Baale, residing in the village for 50 years, notes a reduction in diseases, possibly attributed to government vaccines.

 However, the pressing needs for water and a hospital persist, with a preference for a well if a borehole is not feasible.

She said “I have spent five decades in this village, relying solely on alum-treated water for drinking and daily use. 

“While the source of our water remains uncertain as a potential cause of diseases, the prevalence seems to have decreased, possibly due to government-provided vaccines. In the past, we battled guinea worm infections.”

Situation Forced Us To Run Away From Village -Baale’s Son 

Kayode Bamgbose, the son of the Baale, echoes the plea for assistance in water supply, hospital facilities, and electricity. Acknowledging the shared challenges with neighboring villages,

Bamgbose states, “I am the son of the Baale of Agbadu. We urgently need government support for water supply, hospitals, and electricity.

 Bamgbose, appeals for government’s  help in water supply, hospital, and electricity. 

He said “nearby villages like Adekanbi and Agejo face similar hardships. However, Adekanbi has a borehole donated by someone, and a church has provided them with a well.

“We implore the government to furnish us with a borehole or well and ensure access to electricity. In fact, due to the darkness at night, the youth in our village collectively installed four solar-powered street lights.

“Some of our residents have left due to the water scarcity. We appeal to philanthropists to assist us in securing a water source. Additionally, when a pregnant woman is about to deliver, even at night, we have to transport her to Abeokuta (Oke-Ilewo).”

Data Shows Nigeria’s Water Contamination Challenge Persists

Nigeria continues to grapple with water contamination, a pressing issue exacerbated by the surge in population and industrial activities.

 The escalating generation of wastewater, a byproduct of rapid urbanization and industrialization, significantly compromises the water quality in sub-Saharan Africa.

During the 2022 World Water Day commemoration, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) expressed deep concern, revealing that an alarming 70 percent of water at the point of consumption in Nigeria is contaminated. 

This contamination has led to Nigeria bearing the unfortunate distinction of having the world’s highest number of deaths, particularly among children under five, due to waterborne diseases.

UNICEF emphasised that approximately 117,000 children lose their lives annually in Nigeria as a result of water-related illnesses, marking the highest mortality rate recorded globally. 

The indiscriminate discharge of effluents by numerous industries into nearby water bodies has been identified as a significant contributing factor to this crisis.

Furthermore, solid waste management emerges as a critical global environmental challenge.

 The world is increasingly recognizing the peril posed by improper waste disposal and its profound impact on the environment and natural habitats.

 In Nigeria, like elsewhere, addressing these issues is imperative to safeguarding public health and preserving the integrity of the environment.

MAPOLY May Help  If – PRO

The Public Relations Officer of MAPOLY, Yemi Ajibola, recommends that residents address water concerns by reaching out to the Polytechnic management, highlighting the potential for assistance.

 He acknowledges past government success in repairing pipes and suggests the availability of solar power as an alternative.

Ajibola suggests, “Residents can write a letter to the management, emphasizing their need for water. I may not have all the details, but I was aware when the water was contaminated. 

“If they express their need to the management, we can provide assistance. We’ve coexisted for a long time, and making a request for water is reasonable.

“Presenting the case to the management is crucial. Initially, the management provided water, and though I can’t comment on when it was shut down, I know about the extension. 

“If they desire water, making a case to the management is the right step. The management has been generous in the past, and there shouldn’t be any issue with restoring their water.

“Last October, the governor sent water corporation officials to repair pipes and enhance water supply. As for electricity, we now have a solar power system.

“ Even without a generator and electricity, we can pump water for the polytechnic community. If they present their case now, I believe the management will generously provide water without any problem.”

Residents of Agbadu are seeking philanthropic aid for water and government support for essential infrastructure.

PLATFORM TIMES observed that  residents of Agbadu village community face critical issues with water, electricity, and healthcare, and they urgently seek government intervention and philanthropic support to address these challenges.

As part of verifying the health challenges facing the villagers that drink the stream water, PLATFORM TIMES has taken a sample of the water for laboratory test .

End

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