Cholera outbreak imminent as waste takes over Lagos markets, roads – NHO investigation reveals

Cholera outbreak imminent as waste takes over Lagos markets, roads – NHO investigation reveals

We are already having diarrhoea, chest pain – Traders at popular Martins street cry out 

As Nigeria fights COVID-19 pandemic with the rest of the world, there’s palpable fear that Lagos may soon add an outbreak of cholera to its health burden, if nothing is done urgently, as most markets and roads have been defaced with heaps of wastes.

When Nigeria Health Online, NHO visited some of the popular market places like Balogun, Martins street, Ajah, Orile among others, we discovered that people are already taking ill following the abandoned heaps of wastes very close to their shops. Some of the marketers said they are already stooling and vomiting as they inhale the offensive odour from the wastes everyday.

According to them, the Lagos Waste Management Authority, LAWMA, the agency saddled with the responsibility of packing wastes in the state, has abandoned them.

Speaking to some of the ailing marketers at the popular Martins Street in Balogun Lagos, they said despite staying faithful to the monthly dues to LAWMA, the body has refused to play its own part.  The market men and women also expressed fear that  visitors to the market will soon be experiencing  different types of ailments if nothing is done urgently. 

Speaking to one of the traders, Mrs Oluwashekemi Oluwadaramola, she said: “It’s over two weeks that LAWMA came to pack these wastes. We have called them, made all manner of moves, yet they have refused to answer us.

“We are begging and pleading with them to come and pack all these. It is very dangerous to our health. I have been stooling for the past three days because of the offensive odour from this.

“They throw all manner of wastes in this place including faeces. This is not good for our health. We are selling our goods here; we don’t have any other source of livelihood.”

Another trader, Mr Ibeabuchi Ekeh said: “Just take a look at all these and then walk down the road, this is a health hazard.

People are doing their business here and for two weeks, this has been this way.

They normally pack it every day or at worst within a two days interval.

“The major problem we are having here is that these wastes are not generated by us, it is in the night that they normally dump them here and before we come out in the morning, we will find it. This is our business place and we can’t run away from our business premises. 

Similarly, Mrs Bukola Alawo, also a trader in the market, said: “I have been stooling for the past five days. Lagos State should come and help us to pack all these. This is unfair.

\“These wastes have been here for over three weeks, they should not kill us. We pay our LAWMA dues of N500 every month; each shop pays N500 and if you have two shops, you pay N1000.”

In the same vein, another trader who simply identified himself as Mr Okey, said: “We don’t have power over this, we have complained a lot and they told us that if we don’t have a choice that we should go back to our homes.

Uncleared wastes take over Ajah road

“Not only are these wastes already making people ill, it’s causing a lot of traffic inside this market. Some people have stopped coming to the market because of the bad smell. This has been happening for two weeks and two days. You can see maggots and flies coming out from there.

“I have my own nose mask and I have been having chest pain for the past five days because of what I have been inhaling from the dirt, a lot of people are already sick.”

Another trader, Mr. Favour Onyebuchi said: “We have to stay because we have our families. If we don’t sell we can’t feed them. I have been having chest pain because of the stench. There is even one woman over there that has been stooling and vomiting for some days. It is pathetic.”

In Ajah market, the story is the same. A food vendor who gave her name as Mrs Bisi, said: “We don’t have a government in this state. The people who were supposed to pack this have refused to come since the past five days. This can give us disease. If you pass the other side of the road, you will wish to run.”

In Orile market, marketers are also complaining bitterly because hips of wastes have taken up half  of the road, emitting very offensive odour..

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