CAPPA – Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa

No water, no vote: Kosofe communities cry for help, say residents dying from bad water

By Philip Jakpor, Aderonke Ige, Olatunji Buhari, Veronica Nwanya, Zikora Ibeh & Olalekan Fagbenro

It was one tale of woe after another when a team from the Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) visited Oshogun and Araromi communities in Kosofe Area of Lagos State for a fact-finding exercise following a save -our-souls from residents that the Lagos Water Corporation (LWC) had for decades denied them clean and portable water and the general neglect of the communities by their elected representatives.

Oshogun and Araromi communities have a population of about 1.5 million people and share a boundary with Ketu Local Council Development Authority (LCDA) under Kosofe Local Government Area of Lagos.

The CAPPA team visited the communities on Wednesday, May 18, 2022. The engagement gave the team the opportunity to obtain first-hand information on how residents are coping with the lack of water in the communities and what they want the government to do.

CAPPA organized a Water Parliament in the community to obtain first-hand information on their water challenges and how they can engage their representatives and the LWC on resolving the issues.

During the fact-finding visit, CAPPA Director of Programmes Director, Philip Jakpor expressed his personal condolence and that of CAPPA to the community for the recent loss of one of their own due to cholera.

Jakpor described the situation as very unfortunate and said it shows the failure of the government in guaranteeing universal access as a basic right for the people.

He urged the community to remain resolute in their demands for government to provide them clean and adequate water and be ready to intensify pressure on the government if they want their situation to change for the better.

The same message was relayed to the residents in the Yoruba dialect by CAPPA Associate Director, Aderonke Ige, who also encouraged the participants in the Parliament to voice their challenges for documentation purpose.

The community representatives explained that for decades they have been without public water. In 2018, they had collectively contributed a sum of N2, 000,000 (two million naira) to connect water from the Lagos Water Corporation (LWC) to the community but were disappointed when the pipes connected to a facility in Utuh, one of the streets in Araromi Quarters in the community were destroyed during a road construction by the Lagos State government after a short period. After that, there was no effort by the LWC to address their concerns.

They explained that the devastating lack of access to potable water is posing significant consequences on their health and economic prosperity. In 2021 a member of the community died of cholera. Potentially life-threatening ailments and waterborne diseases such as cholera, diarrhea, and typhoid are common reoccurring sicknesses in the community, especially among children as people are forced to scout for water from unsafe sources or spend a great chunk of what they earn buying water from informal vendors who walk great distances to fetch relatively clean water sold to residents at very pricey amounts.

CAPPA learnt that though most residential buildings in the community have private boreholes and wells due to the failure of the LWC to provide them water, the ground water quality is poor. Private water sourcing efforts have equally not provided much succor as the water is contaminated with excess deposits of iron, arsenic and hydrocarbon elements which makes it unsafe for drinking, cooking, washing or any other productive activity.

During the meeting some youths displayed placards reading: No water, No Election, and “No water, No vote!!”. One of them, Ademola Adelakun explained that it had become imperative that their message get to their elected representatives who only approach them for votes during electioneering periods and then abandon them afterwards.


Jayeisimi Adepeju said though the houses in the area may look beautiful, they cannot boast of water. “Even the boreholes and wells dug by residents in many compounds are unusable because the groundwater is so dirty and has oil floating on the surface,” he said. “As such, community members spend between N1500 – N2000 buying gallons of water from water merchants, including sachets of ‘pure water’ which have been adjudged to be pre-filtered and safe for drinking. Persons with very large families end up spending even more money buying water for everyday use. The accumulated water bills we expend are so much more than our children’s school fees yet some of us are barely surviving on a monthly minimum wage of N30,000’’.

Mr. Olusola Akinsaya described the situation in the community as ‘very bad.’

“For the past 18 years there has been no water in our community,” he said. “We have written letters to our representatives but there has been no response. As a result of getting water from unwholesome places, people are dying like chicken. One person from our community died from cholera recently.  We treat typhoid and malaria every 2 months at the least. We don’t have any government presence here. Politicians have not done anything for us. They only come here to solicit our vote during the electioneering period but after they get elected, we won’t hear anything from them anymore.  There was a time we contributed Two Million Naira (N2,000,000) to lay pipes from a Catholic church to our homes but in the process of road construction, the government destroyed all the pipes and there was no compensation. Even though we did not have water, we still received monthly bill from Lagos water corporation until we agreed not to pay anymore. Beyond water, we also have electricity challenge in this community We don’t have light.  The suffering is too much for us.  We have resolved that if there is no water, there will be no votes in this community.”

Pastor Isaac Oketola sad when it comes to water, it is very terrible in the community.  “Where I used to live, there was water to some extent but here there is none. I usually drive to Somolu to fetch water. We will be happy if the government can come to our aid. They only come here to seek our vote but after that, they disappear. I am in support of the no water, no vote decision.”

Mrs. Adeleye Taiwo, a resident told the group that there were two things that bothered her. “One, our community does not have clean water for washing clothes and cooking, talk more of drinking,” she said. “Most times, I take my dirty clothes from my house to my shop to wash them because of the bad water in the community.

“Recently my husband spent over N28,000 (twenty-eight thousand naira) to revive our borehole but the problem persists. Second, the government brought a transformer to my area in 2017 but as we speak it has not generated electricity for one day. It is getting bad by the day. We pay for land charges and other statutory fees, but we are not getting anything in return from the government.”

Iyabode Olaiya, a resident, said:  We don’t have water. The water we fetch from the borehole has oil sediments on it when put it in a bucket. The most disturbing thing for me is that our children go out to play, drink this water and this comes at a huge cost to us in terms of illnesses they suffer from time to time

Baale of Oshogun, Chief M.O Makinde lamented that the community has continued to suffer economic and health troubles because of lack of access to water. “We want our lawmakers and those representing us in the Lagos state government to come to respond to the demands of our people,” he said.

Source: City Voice

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