Lagos communities urge Government to repair NNPC pipeline leakage

One of the polluted boreholes PHOTO: Ayodele Adeniran

One of the polluted boreholes PHOTO: Ayodele Adeniran

Residents of Abule-Egun and Baruwa communities in Ipaja area of Lagos State, are calling on the Federal Government to take urgent steps to end the persistent leakage of pipelines belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), in their communities.

The residents, who are deeply bothered by government’s apparent insensitivity and slow-footedness in dealing with an issue that not only endanger the lives of residents of the area, but also wasting huge economic resources, added that the leakage has caused water pollution in their communities, as their boreholes no longer produce clean water fit for human consumption.

They stressed the need for government to act fast and halt the seepage of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), into their water boreholes, which have ultimately contaminated their water sources.

One of them, Mr. Issac George, who has lived in the area for 15 years, said the water pollution started even before he built his house.

George said: “When we came here, I was told the water pollution started when NNPC pipes started leaking long time ago. Individuals cannot solve this problem because the PMS leakage is taking place underground. Since this started, we have been buying water from tankers and vendors. The situation is so bad that we cannot use water from the boreholes to wash clothes. Because of all these, we suffer from water scarcity as it is not everybody that can afford to buy water from these tankers.”

He continued, “Long time ago NNPC officials came here compiling names of those that affected by the pollution, but till date nothing has been done. Even the water we buy from tankers, we cannot vouch for its quality because we can’t also verify the source.

“We want the Lagos State government to provide water for our community because water is very important for human existence. Currently, we depend on the water tankers and vendors, but some times they fail to deliver on time.”

Another resident, Sola George, said water pollution in the area, has gone from worse to worst in the last 10 years.

George said: “One of the things that bother us is the fact that even the water vendors that we now rely on their water supply to prepare our mills, bathe and do laundry, bring this water from afar. But we do not know the source of the water we buy.

“The water pollution plaguing us has serious health implications on residents of the community. So, the government should look into this issue before the situation gets out of hand. We have a lot of people who work in government here and we pay our taxes, revenue, land use and other charges to government.

“There was a time when government provided a borehole for us, but at the end of the day, the borehole was also polluted, and so the water from it was never used.”

Bale of Baruwa community, High Chief Khalid Baruwa, said the community noticed the water pollution problem in 1998. Since then, it has contacted all relevant agencies but without any reprieve.

Baruwa said: “We have contacted the Lagos State government; Lagos State Water Corporations; Lagos State Environmental Pollution Agency; agencies of the Federal Government that have anything to do with pollution.

“In 2000, we met with the then group managing director of NNPC, in Abuja. He promised us relief, which came in the form of three boreholes, which were never commissioned because the first time the water was tested, the Lagos State government said it was not good for human consumption. So, we wrote a letter to them in 2014, and they promised to give us a treatment plant but we have not seen it.”

“We beg governments to come to our aid, particularly the Lagos State government, which promised to give us pipe borne water, which we are yet to see.

The monarch maintained that the pollution was not as a result of vandalisation, but a leakage, which happened in 1994, and has not been resolved ever since.

“Some researchers from a Federal Government-owned college of technology came here, collected water from our boreholes and tested it. At the end of the day, they confirmed that the water was laden with PMS, though they have not completed their research yet.

“We suspect that some pipes got damaged, which is why there is PMS leakage in the community, and the damage could have been occasioned by expired pipes. So, I want to appeal to the government to come to the aid of the community because in the event of a fire outbreak, it would be catastrophic. The petroleum product that has been wasting here over the past 20 years means a lot for the economy of the nation.

“Because of this situation, we have suffered a lot in terms of water scarcity. There was a time the local council came to the rescue and provided water to the community, but it was a once-in-a-while kind of thing. They used to bring the water with tanker and this was never enough for the entire community.”

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