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Lagos residents lament looming epidemic from overflowing wastewater plant

By Morenikeji  Showemimo
13 October 2022   |   2:51 am
Residents of Jakande Estate and environs are lamenting the looming epidemic occasioned by the overflow of Oke -Afa Wastewater Plant, located at Jakande Housing Estate, Iso

State of Jakende Estate wastewater plant…yesterday PHOTO: MORENIKEJI SHOWEMIMO

Residents of Jakande Estate and environs are lamenting the looming epidemic occasioned by the overflow of Oke -Afa Wastewater Plant, located at Jakande Housing Estate, Isolo.

The plant built in 1982, was to serve over 40, 000 people through an activated sludge process, with the capacity of doing primary, secondary and tertiary treatment, while Oke-Afa Canal is the receiving point.  
However, the plant, which serves about 50,000 people living in and around Jakande Estate has witnessed no major rehabilitation, apart from a recent minor one.
When The Guardian visited last week, the plant was in a sorry state, while a visible trademark of the plant is the effluent from the pipes overflowing into the streets and drainage system.  
These effluents normally find their way through available space crisscrossing several residential homes before emptying into the canal.
Residents said the plant has become a meeting spot for street urchins, who converge to smoke Indian hemp and carry out nefarious activities.
Those who spoke to The Guardian lamented that their water sources are being contaminated due to pollution from the plant, which can lead to health issues, such as cancer or cardiovascular conditions.
A property owner in the neighbourhood, Rasaq Lawal, expressed bitterness over the abandonment of the wastewater treatment plant by successive governments in the state.  
According to him, those elected into government are just paying lip service to the plights of the people without considering their wellbeing. 

He said: “The wastewater pollutes our boreholes, which are our main source of water supply. No matter how careful we are, our water still gets polluted and its intake causes illness to our kids. Government should please take necessary steps  to remedy the  situation.”
Likewise, a businesswoman, who sells food in the plant vicinity, Mrs. Afolashade Remilekun lamented that she had been forced to spend a lot of money to get water every day from other sources because of pollution caused by the wastewater.
She said: “I spent about N2,500 daily on water suppliers, which is really affecting my daily income.  

“I am a widow with three children, if things continue like this and the plant is not taken care of I might have to stop selling the food and it will affect me and my children’s education.”
A trader in that vicinity said although workers have been adding chemicals to the sewage waste, which helps to suppress the odour, it is contaminating underground water and therefore harmful to residents.
Also, a resident, Mr. Kenny Arowolo confirmed that the government officials add chemicals to it and it ends up giving their water an unpleasant taste.  
Contacted, General Manager, Lagos State Wastewater Management Office (LSWMO), Engr. Adebola Matanmi, said the agency is aware of the situation and it has been rectified.
According to him, “there were issues with Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company when we insisted that we wanted pre-paid meter for the plant, which resulted in disconnection of electricity supply to the sewage plant for two years and with that, we were unable to pump water, which leads to overflowing. 
“The issue has been resolved a couple of weeks ago and the light has been restored. During that period of absence of electricity, we at times get diesel to pump water and ever since electricity was resolved, the place has been in a good condition.”
Matanmi said there is also a plan to expand the sewage waste plant because of the increase in the population of the area. 

He said the state has approved an upgrade of the plant and changing some equipment to meet the challenges of the time.