Afariogun residents in Oshodi cry out over bakery fumes, noise


Residents of Afariogun Street in Oshodi/Isolo Local Government Area of Lagos State are crying out over activities of a bakery in their neighbourhood. They complained that the heavy, dark smoke from the bakery is making life uncomfortable for them, as it is injurious to their health.

Not only this, they said the noise from the engine in the bakery is also polluting the community.

Although all the streets in the area are affected in one way or another, residents of a house in an adjacent street, (40, Afariogun) behind the bakery, are the worst hit.

The bakery shares a fence with this house, which enables smoke to drift backward into residents’ rooms.

A visit to the neighbourhood revealed that the smoke from the bakery has darkened the exteriors of some buildings in the area, which parades mostly what is referred to in the local parlance as face-me-I-slap-you arrangement. This has also contributed to the dirty appearance of the area.

Narrating their ordeal to The Guardian, some residents stated that activities in the bakery, located at Sadiku Street, have not only been affecting their health for a long time, but that they have also constituted noise pollution in the community.

One of the residents, Mrs. Francis Ifeanyi explained that whenever the bakers start operating, the walls of their building become very hot.

She said: “Because of these negative effects, we have confronted the bakery owner on several occasions, but he only replied that we are jealous of his success. They even operate at night, and the smoke enters our rooms, preventing us from getting quality sleep.

“About two years ago, I was hospitalised and spent quite a while in the hospital. This was because I had lung infection I didn’t know about. I don’t smoke and I don’t drink. The doctors said it was due to inhalation of fumes in the environment. The doctor even gave me a note to take to the nearest police station.

“The doctor said I should let Police know about the development in my community. It is very bad, and if adults are having health problems, due to inhaling this smoke, you can imagine the effect on babies. In this Afariogun Street alone, we have more than four newborns, and if these babies are inhaling that smoke, it is not good for their health.

“Apart from this, we also have people with asthma that are living in the community. In recent years, the smoke has increased, which has led to an increase in the health problems affecting people in this community.

“For the past two years now, the smoke has become worse. I have noticed that the smoke is now giving off the smell of some unpleasant chemicals. Sometimes, you will be inside your house and you just see smoke coming from nowhere. My mom just recently got discharged from the hospital. It was this same smoke from the bakery that triggered strange illnesses in her. She was having heart palpitations and such things.”

Another resident, Victor Offorka, said what is most painful is that people living in the community are no longer able to play outside their houses.

“The open space in the community, where residents used to come together to socialise has been abandoned, due to the heavy smoke coming from the bakery. There used to be a place around the bakery that the children used as a playground. That has also been abandoned. So, everyone stays in their houses now, but you can’t get respite even inside your own home, as the smoke also penetrates inside.

“On account of this development, some people have relocated to other areas, when they could no longer cope with the smoke and noise pollution. I want to use this opportunity to tell relevant authorities to come to our aid and find solution to the problem.”

A landlady, Mrs. Moji Adekunle said she had personally reported the case to the local government and even went to the police station in the area, but nothing has been done.

However, the bakery operator, Mr. Adeyinka Olagunju, said his generator is not noisy, and that his oven does not generate much heat, as it is electric. He explained that this is deliberate, so as not to disturb the residents.

He said: “The generator is for easy mixing of flour, and my workers do not operate at night. About 15 years ago, we were using local oven with firewood, but now, I can assure you that we have improved in our operation.

“Even before new tenants move into the compound, I usually inform them that I have a bakery in the premises. This is to enable them decide whether to stay or not.”

Asked if there had been complaints from his neighbours on the issue, he said: “I had a misunderstanding with one of my neighbours before, but it was on a different issue entirely and we later settled.

“We usually perform our operation professionally and diligently. Once we finish processing our products, we immediately distribute to our customers in their shops. We do not allow the customers to come to our bakery, to avoid disturbance in the neighbourhood. We do our best to ensure that there is peace in the neighbourhood. We are considerate about our neighbours’ wellbeing.”

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