No fewer than 500,000 residents of Iponri Low-Cost Housing Estate, Surulere Local Government Area, Lagos State, on Sunday appealed to the Lagos State Government to save their lives from epidemic that was looming there.
They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the sewage plant that usually drains dirty water from the soak-away of more than 400 housing units with 500,000 residents had been disconnected by Eko Disco (EKEDC) due to unpaid bills.
They said that the non-functioning of the sewage plant had resulted into flooding of the estate by dirty water from the soak away, thus spreading stench odour in the area.
Mr Abdul-Rasak Osho, President, Iponri Housing Estate Residents’ Association, told NAN that the sewage plant constructed by the Lagos State Government was being maintained by the Ministry of the Environment.
“The residents noticed that the sewage plant stopped working about three months ago. We met the engineer-in-charge who told us that the power supply to the plant had been disconnected because LASG owed the EKEDC.
“We bought diesel for them to power the plant but it was exhausted within just five hours. We have appealed to EKEDC to restore the power supply but it said not until the Lagos State Government must have paid what it owed the company.
‘The sewage plant has been under the government care since we bought flats in this estate and government has not told us that it can no longer maintain it.
“Presently, the dirty water has flooded everywhere in the estate. We cannot even pass some routes now because of the flood,” he said.
Osho appealed to the state government to offset the bill so that EKEDC would restore power supply to the sewage plant and safe the estate from the impending epidemic.
Mr Francis Odukoya, the Secretary-General of the association, said that the association had written several letters to the state Ministry of the Environment on the problem.
However, the state government had not replied to any of our correspondence.
“We have written about four letters to the Honourable Commissioner for the Environment as I am speaking to you now.
“They built the sewage plant for the estate and they have been servicing it for us for more than 30 years now, they should not relent on their efforts.
“They should come to our rescue before the residents of the estate start to contact disease because this odour is terrible,” he said.
Mrs Alake Oshodi, an old widow, living in Flat 103 in the estate, told NAN that one of her granddaughters developed illness recently and had been admitted to a private hospital.
“I’m sure the illness was as a result of this dirty water and bad odour in the estate, the government should help us before we all contact cholera,” she cried.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent could not speak with the engineer in charge of the sewage plant because the main entrance to the place was locked.
Also, none of the officials of the Ministry of the Environment was ready to speak to NAN on the issue.
They said they were not permitted to speak to the press.