Vanguard (Lagos)

16 February 2013

Nigeria: Ezu River - Water Borne Disease Looms

Awka — THERE are fears that water borne disease had erupted at Ebenebe in Awka North local government area of Anambra State following the people's continued drawing of water from the contaminated Ezu River where several decomposing dead bodies were seen floating last month.

Ezu River is the main source of water supply for Ebenebe, as well as other communities of Amansea, Ugbenu, Ugbene and Oba Ofemili in the same local government.

Though all the communities using Ezu as their source of water supply were warned against drawing water from Ezu after the discovery of the dead bodies, some of them had continued to fetch water from the river because of lack of alternative source of water supply.

Traditional ruler of Ebenebe, Igwe Chris Nnaegbuna, who spoke after receiving 3000 bags of sachet water for his community from officials of Andy Uba Foundation, a non governmental organization, NGO, said many people in his domain have suddenly taken ill at the same time and he suspected that it could be as a result of their continued use of the contaminated Ezu River as their source of drinking water.

He said: "Initially, the people obeyed the directive not to use the water any longer, but when they did not have alternative, they started using the water again. Unfortunately, they are not used to boiling water before use and this could be the reason for the sudden illness of many people in this community.

"That is why we commend the wonderful gesture of Andy Uba Foundation for coming to our aide and I thank God for using Senator Uba to assist the people to overcome their difficulties through the supply of water to all the communities in Awka North who use Ezu River as their source of water supply.

"If God did not create good people like Andy Uba, the world would have been a terrible place to live in."

The royal father said he would send some members of his cabinet to the relevant government bodies to report the development in his domain.

Former Anambra State chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Mr. Bright Nebedum and director of Andy Uba Foundation, Dr, Charles Nweke have been traversing all the communities residing along the Ezu River with truck loads of bags of sachet water and dropping them at the palaces of the various traditional rulers in the local government for distribution to the people.

Nebedum and Nweke said Senator Uba sent them to supply the water to all the communities affected by the pollution because of his concern for the health of the people, adding that in view of the peculiar problem faced by the people, the senator has mapped out other programmes for the area which would soon be unfolded.

Some of the sick people, especially women and children, told Saturday Vanguard that they feel weak and lack appetite to eat.

According to them, a sachet of water costs N10 in the area, adding that they do not have money to buy the water for their entire families, regretting that the various governments had focused all attention on Amansea because the dead bodies were discovered there, when there are other communities using Ezu River for their water needs.

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