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Maidan: Fear of cholera outbreak looms over open defecation in Lagos community

By Eniola Daniel
18 November 2022   |   3:51 am
Residents of Maidan community and parts of Mile 12 in Kosofe Local Council of Lagos State have expressed fear over a possible outbreak of cholera and infectious diseases due to open makeshift toilets set up around the area.

We will arrest culprits, prosecute them, says official

Residents of Maidan community and parts of Mile 12 in Kosofe Local Council of Lagos State have expressed fear over a possible outbreak of cholera and infectious diseases due to open makeshift toilets set up around the area. The Guardian investigation revealed that more than a dozen makeshift toilets are erected on the riverbanks, where people defecate directly inside the flowing  Maiden river.

    
The affected areas include the riverbank in Ibrahim Sanusi Estate, at Adeyeye street and close to Agiliti pedestrian link bridge.
   
In fact, at Adeyeye Street, there are about six toilets of that nature ; One has a septic tank,  while three other wooden structures are constructed in the area. Residents pay about N100 to use the toilet; bathe there and use water from the  same river for laundry. A resident, who called the attention of The Guardian to the practice, expressed fears that if left unchecked it will lead to an outbreak of diseases like they previously experienced in 2021.
 
The resident said: “Last year, there was cholera outbreak and many people lost their lives. The hospitals were overwhelmed with patients with no bed space that many were put on the floor while receiving treatment.
 
“Most buildings close to the riverbank don’t have any septic tank, they channel their pipes directly into the gutter and river. This has been going on for a long time.”
 
Asked if any government agency has visited the area, he said:  “There is a form of connivance between some officials who know what is going on here because at times the Lagos State Waste Water Board and The Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources do pay visits, but we don’t know how they go about it. They settle them and it continues.
 
“As far as I can remember, this has been going on for more than 10 years and people eat, bathe, and do virtually everything in the same spot.
 
“If this goes unchecked there will be an outbreak of diseases. The people also use water to wash their clothes. They wash cement bags in the river and people use the same sack to carry food items.
 
“The government should do the needful towards ensuring the safety of lives. No one will be spared in the community if there is an outbreak.
 
“People are scared to come out and they don’t know how to contact the media to voice out their concern. So, I just took it upon myself to do the needful. The best I can do is to bring the attention of government to what is happening through the media.”
 
When asked about the managers of the spaces, he said: “Individuals buy a space, start the business and start charging N100 per head to use the space. People acquire land close to the riverbank and go ahead with the business.”
 
Reacting , Director, Public Affairs, Lagos State Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, Kunle Adesina said  the culprits will be arrested soon. He blamed citizens for doing the wrong things with no one willing to confront or challenge them.
  
“Just two weeks ago, we went to the area and saw many of these toilets, but we are going there soon to carry out enforcement  to  arrest and demolish the toilets.
 
“We have been taking action. I promise that we will act soon on it. Based on the details of the location you provided, we will go there and they will feel our presence there.
 
“The problem is that when we demolish, the same set of people will reconstruct, but we will continue to clamp down on the culprits and prosecute them,” he added.