By Boluwaji Obahopo, Lokoja
Esia Oke-Eri community is a remote village in Yagba West local government area of Kogi State. The land is blessed with fertile land. And so, food is hardly a problem for the hardworking residents. But for the family of Blessing Adesoro, cooking times comes with great worries, as getting water for cooking and other chores is a problem. A situation visible with other households.
The only source of water in the village is a seasonal river that is four kilometres away from the village, and the boreholes built by the government have long lost its usefulness. To make matter worse, the river water which poises great hygienic danger will soon dry up, as it is seasonal.
This is why the residents could hardly believe it when God’s Divine Touch Ministry, a Christian organization visited the remote village and sank a water borehole; a development that has given them a glimpse of hope.
Esia has close to five boreholes sunk by government in the past but, for years, residents have faced perennial water shortage since the last of the boreholes stop working 12 years ago, leaving the resident at the mercy of the river, or those who sell water from a tanker that brings water to the community twice a week.
The village located at the interior of the council area suffered years of neglect by successive administrations and the residents felt abandoned and forgotten.
Blessing Adesoro said they paid N500 for the water tanker to fill a drum. She said some children have suffered ailments that may not be unconnected to the unhygienic condition of the river.
“The raining season is the best time for us in this community as it affords us the opportunity to get rain water. After then, it becomes a constant worry for us as we have to pay N500 to buy water from the water tanker operator who comes twice a week; and that is a lot of money for people of this community. And if you don’t have money, the only option left is the river.”
In this era of satchet and bottled water, the story of a family still drinking river water in Nigeria may sound unbelievable but that was the sad reality facing residents of Esia.
“The only source of water in the village is a seasonal river that is like four kilometres away but the water is not good enough,” said Mrs Gladys Ekundayo who said some of the women sometimes quarel at the river over how and who should fetch first.
Little wonder the community celebrated this week during the commissioning of the borehole. They leapt for joy as fresh water gushed out of the tap. For the residents, this was more than a project, it is a timely gift of inestimable value.
Chairperson of the Ministry, Pastor Tayo Babalola said she respondent to the village need when she heard about their plight, “When we heard and visited the community, the acute water shortage shocked us. We found the situation so dire that the drilling of the borehole became more urgent.
Though the ministry did not declared how much the borehole cost, the project was a relief to more than 300 hundred households. The residents, who celebrated with songs and dances, could not hide their joy for the organization easing the burden of water scarcity which local government authorities had long ignored.
The traditional ruler of the community, the Elesia of Esia Oke-Eri, Oba Amos Akolo, eulogized the ministry, said the project has brought hope to them. He called on other spirited- individuals and corporate organizations to emulate the ministry and come to the aid of the community in other aspects that could uplift their standard of living.