Rebecca Ejifoma writes that succour came the way of Igbooye community in Lagos after 20 years of travelling miles to the stream to fetch water
Lagos State is known for excellence, but not in all areas. Igbooye is a community in Lagos state but it has been without potable water for over 20 years. The people, especially the women of Igbooye have been on trips daily to the stream to fetch water to cater for their household needs.
So last week, when potable water came their way, it was all joy. They sang and danced to the rhythm of their traditional music to welcome what one of the women described as, “a change in the story of our community.”
The German Embassy in Nigeria in collaboration with the Development Support Institute of Nigeria relieved them of their pain of many years.
“As with every community we work, the chores of keeping the home and environment clean as well as keeping the family healthy, we find falls on the women, the children and the youths in the community. And the main component required for achieving these various tasks is water,” said Jacqueline Odiadi, Executive Director of the Development Support Institute of Nigeria (DSI).
Jacqueline added, “No one can deny the untiring work of the present Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola in restructuring and reviving the various infrastructures in transportation, education, services and water among others. Recently, he commissioned a two-million-gallon-mini-water works in Ajangbadi and Ojo local government area, the other end of the city. But, the ever-growing cosmopolitan city of Lagos requires public-private partnership in the construction of more water works and in the repair of existing water facilities to meet the growing demands for water in the state.”
Meanwhile, the representative of the German Embassy, Ms. Ann Katherine, said that it was the harmattan season, which requires more water. We know the people and animals would need more water. We know what happens when there is no water or when it gets dirty; there will be disease.”
She explained that DSI brought the idea to them and explained they wanted to help the community. “We saw that it was good and we partnered with them on this.” Ann believed that the women will now be able to use their time judiciously rather than travelling miles to fetch water. She said, “With the potable water provision, the women will not waste time travelling miles and they can use that time to attend to other issues.”
According to the Oba of Igbooye, Michael Gbadebo Onakoya, who welcomed them at the palace, “the entire members of Igbooye land appreciate this kind gesture of providing our community with this ultra modern and well designed borehole facility for the supply of quality fresh water.”
He added: “As the saying goes, water is life; the provision of this will reduce all health-related problems associated with poor quality water.”
However, the Oba urged that the German government and the DSI should do more in terms of reviving their maternity and dispensary, which have been abandoned for 20 years or thereabouts.
The people of the community entertained with the war dance drama and sang in the Yoruba dialect that water, which is required for cooking, washing, cleaning and keeping the environment tidy, has been given to them freely and will prevent them from contacting water borne diseases.”
In addition to the borehole water, the challenge of electrical power in the community was reduced with the donation of a generator set with which to power the water.
The German Embassy and DSI also visited the Sangotedo primary school in Ibeju-Lekki area of Lagos state where they donated 120 chairs and desks for the pupils and five teachers’ tables and chairs.
Mrs. Odiadi said that DSI is concerned about the need for urgent intervention in the Nigerian educational sector and it has embarked on several activities and programmes. “This is in partnership with the Department for International Development (DFID), Education Sector Support Programme in Nigeria (ESSPIN) and the German Embassy in providing training for School Based Management Communities (SBMC) at community levels.
We want to ensure that community leaders and students/pupils effectively advocate for the educational needs of the community; monitoring and mentoring of community leaders to ensure the desired change required for the educational needs of their children; provide school furniture and learning aids to rural schools in Lagos; Toilet and Borehole facilities and Sponsor-a-teacher and child programme.”
She explained that it was majorly to transform the management and funding of basic education in Nigeria by working with government, civil society and local communities.
“ESSPIN is introducing a range of improvements to the quality of learning and management of schools to benefit Nigeria’s children, especially in the two government areas covered by DSI namely Etiosa and Mainland, which have 36 primary schools in six clusters and 63 primary schools in nine clusters respectively,” she said.