Cholera epidemic looms in Lagos as waste takes over markets, streets

•We are already having diarrhoea, chest pains —Traders at popular Martins Street cry out

Despite priding itself as a mega city, almost all the streets and markets in Lagos, the so-called city of excellence, have been taken over by refuse dumps.


When Vanguard Metro visited some of the popular market places like Balogun, Martins Street, Ajah, Orile, among others, it was gathered that the stench oozing from abandoned heaps of waste close to shops, is taking a toll on traders, whose shops are close to the refuse heaps. Some of the marketers said they are already stooling and vomiting because of the offensive odour from the wastes.


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


Speaking to some of the ailing marketers at the popular Martins Street in Balogun, Lagos, they lamented that despite paying their monthly dues to LAWMA regularly, they have refused to play their own part of the bargain. They also expressed fears that if nothing was done urgently, everybody coming into the market may also be affected.


Traders Cry Out


One of the traders, Mrs. Oluwashikemi Oluwadaramola, said: “It’s over two weeks that LAWMA came to pack these wastes. We have called them, made all neccessary moves, yet, they have refused to do their job. We are 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 the waste.


They throw all manner of waste 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, has this to say: “Just take a look at all these and then walk down the road. This poses a health risk. People are doing their businesses here and, for two weeks, it has been this way. They normally clear it everyday or, at worst, every two days. The major problem we are having here is that the waste is not generated by us; it is in the night that they normally dump it here and, when we arrive in the morning, we find them. This is our business place and we can’t run away from here.”


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 clear all these. This is unfair. The waste has 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 can’t stay, we should go back to our homes.


Not only is the waste 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 terrible odour. This has been on 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 heaps of waste. A lot of people are already sick.”


Another trader in the same market, Mr. Favour Onyebuchi stated: “We have to stay because we have families. If we don’t sell, we won’t be able to 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.”


Ajah Market


In Ajah market, the story is still the same. Speaking to a food seller who simply identified herself as Mrs Bisi, she said: “We don’t have a government in this state. The people whose job it is to clear the heaps of refuse have not come in the past five days. This can make us sick. If you pass the other side of the road, you will want to run away.”


….Orile, Oshodi


At Orile market, traders are also complaining bitterly because heaps of waste have taken over the middle of the road, emitting offensive odour and polluting the air. However, apart from the aforementioned markets and roads, further checks by Vanguard Metro showed that people dump waste indiscriminately, especially where traders display their wares in Oshodi.


A shoe seller was seen displaying his wares right in front of a heap of waste, although he appeared to be unperturbed but he was hopeful that LAWMA would soon arrive with their truck.


Also, another elderly woman in Oshodi who identified herself as Mama Damilola, was seated very close to another heap of waste, just a few steps away from Oshodi pedestrian bridge.


She looked happy while speaking to Vanguard Metro. She said: “The waste has even gone down. It used to be more than what you are seeing. Thank God they’re already packing it.”


….Lagos Island, Agege, Ikorodu


However, visits to other locations such as Ikoyi on Lagos Island, Agege, Ikorodu, Mile 12 and Ijesha Express road revealed a slightly improved situation compared to others as there were pockets of heaps of waste in few locations. For instance, at Pen-Cinema, Agege, heaps of waste were sighted along the road very close to the roundabout. Also, at Keffi Street, Ikoyi by Suya junction, heaps of refuse constitute an eyesore to passersby. Ijesha Express road was defaced by all manner of heaps of refuse.






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