Still on its mission to raise awareness on protection of the environment and sanitation, officials of the Environmental Law Research (ELRI), visited the Oribanwa Community in Eti Osa Local government to promote good sanitation practices and environmental protection. The visit was undertaken as part of ELRI’s environmental health and sanitation awareness promotion in communities.

Oribanwa community is made up of 24 villages, comprising 5 communities namely: Lakuwe; Eputu; Lagasa; Adegba and Oribanwa. With a population of about 60 thousand people, the people engage in petty trading, fishing and sand mining.

The status of Lagos as the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria and its inevitable population increase in has led to the corresponding demand for shelter in the State. As a result, this many residents are moving to peri-urban areas in the State such as Oribanwa and its environs. As a result of its closeness to Victoria Island, low cost houses are springing up in the community.  Despite the rapid development, the roads are bad, often water logged, there are no drainages and many of the houses in the area have no toilets and the people lack access to adequate sanitary facilities. Most of the residents have resorted to defecating in nearby bushes, in uninhabited buildings and empty land areas.  This has become a source of great concern to the residents.  It was also observed that refuse and human waste are directly dumped into waste dumps or make shift gullies on a daily basis.

This prompted the visit to Oribanwa. The ELRI team compromising: Bunmi Moses, Ebere Akwuebu, Feyi Awe, Tolu Akintimehin and Adeola Okesiji arrive Oribanwa and were amiably received by Mr. Ramon Onilewaji a representative of the youths in the community. Mr. Ramon took the team to the residence of Chief Rasak Onilewaju, one of the community leaders; from where they were ushered into the Baale’s palace.  

At the palace, the team was received by the Baale, Chief .Y. Adenowo, his head Chief Rasak Onilewaji, Mr. Ramon and Mr. Saidi Onilewaji the Community Development Association secretary.

After a brief introduction of ELRI, the programme manager for ELRI, Ms Moses, explained the visit was part of the organizations community environmental and sanitation awareness raising activities. She gave a brief overview of the importance of good sanitation and environmental protection in the overall well-being of the community, highlighting the potential diseases associated with poor sanitation. She went on to outline the team’s observation during their tour of the Oribanwa community.

The team highlighted the interactions between environment, sanitation, hygiene and water supply. They concluded by expressing the organization’s intention to work with the community to enhance its sanitation facilities.

The head chief thanked the team for the visit and offer of support. He stated that indeed that most of the houses in community had no toilets and the indigenes had to resort to defecating in the nearby bushes or surrounding open lands a situation which leaves such areas polluted with the stench of human waste. The Chief told the delegates of an incident which occurred not too long ago in the community wherein as a result of the lack of toilets in the schools in the community  some female secondary school students had gone to the nearby bushes to relief themselves but were attacked and raped by some miscreants. 

According to him, the community had two sources of water supply, a small stream which was always drying up or being polluted with human and animal faeces and the bore-hole. The borehole was said to have been constructed eight (8) years ago by the State government. When Ms Moses enquired why the community was unable to refurbish the dilapidated borehole project the Baale responded that their communal effort had been stalled by local government authority who assured them that the State Government had already made provisions for the repair of the borehole. The only feasible effort at repairs on the borehole appears to be that of the Nigerian Rotary Club (ROTARY).  

The community leaders further pointed out that the only waste disposal system in the community was the refuse dump site located at Lakwue village which entailed indiscriminate dumping of refuse at the roadside. At the time of the visit this improvised refuse dump was overflowing to the road and nearly blocking the narrow road leading from Oribanwa and Lakuwe. Infact, pupils from nearby schools were seen passing through this refuse site as access their home, a situation which invariably may constitute adverse health implications to these children.

It was agreed at the end of the meeting that the community leaders hold meetings with other representatives as to how they could partner with ELRI towards providing the outlined amenities in order to promote environmental health and safety.