The problem of getting good water in the town has snowballed and has been causing rapidly deteriorating health problems for the residents of the area. The struggle for water has become a daily routine for the residents and sometimes, leading some to even trade blows over a bucket of water.
The poor water quality affects the lives of the people, the economy and also the environment. However, contaminated water is the primary cause of diseases such as typhoid fever, diarrhoea and dysentery.
A nurse at The Heirs Hospital, a private hospital in the town, who pleaded anonymity, said: “As at last year alone, the hospital admitted many patients who suffered from typhoid.” According to her, “it is definitely from the bad water in the town.”
Samuel Popoola, who is a student of Federal University Oye Ekiti, described the water scarcity in Oye-Ekiti as one of the greatest challenges that people in the area have been battling.
“We have been facing this problem since I came to this town in 2016. It has been a recurring problem. The situation is always fair during the rainy season. However, things usually change for bad during the dry season,” he said.
Another student who stays in the town, Israel Ogbebor, said the issue of water has really been a major source of concern to him and others who stay in the rocky areas of the town. He said that as a student with no choice, he just has to cope with the problem.
For Wale Babalola, an indigene of the town, the situation was not like this until 2015. He averred that the problem actually started when the number of the residents started increasing and the few wells they had failed to cater to the population.
Mr Babalola continued by describing the students of the university in the town as the greatest victims.
“The plight of the students has been my great concern as a father. You know most of these students come from cities where there is good water, they are not used to this. I wish the government and the school authority could do something about this issue to save the situation,” he said.
Another student who lives in the Egbe area of Oye-Ekiti, Mubarak Alimi, lamented over how water scarcity always affected a postgraduate project he was monitoring.
“I was helping a postgraduate student to monitor his project on campus. The man planted some seed but they could not germinate very well due to lack of water. I had to trek to the stream in a far-away place to get water to moisten the plants,” he said.
Although the government and few private individuals had taken some steps to salvage the situation of things, their actions cannot be said to have contributed any significant impact.
In 2016, a former member of the House of Representatives representing Oye/Ikole Federal constituency, Kehinde Agboola, commissioned a solar water system in the Idofin/Afuremu area of Oye Ekiti. Another politician, Sunday Ajewole, who is popularly known as “Okun Inu” also commissioned another solar-power water facility in the Irona area of the town. However, the funniest thing about these projects is that they only functioned during the first few days they were commissioned; After, they stopped working. Mr Ajewole’s project even turned to a joint where they now fry and sell beans cake (Akara).
(Picture 3: A Zonal Intervention Project facilitated by Kehinde Agboola, a former member of the house of representative representing the Oye/Ikole Federal Constituency.)
However, the Ekiti State Government tweeted on March 16, 2021, that the government has commenced the construction of the new Water Corporation Headquarter. The government said that the “Water Corporation Headquarter is part of the Ekiti State Third National Urban Water Project Ekiti State.”
(Picture 5: The newly-built building of the Ekiti State Water Corporation (Photo credit: Nairaland.com)
According to the tweet, “the transmission pipelines are being tested to ensure that Ero, Egbe, Itapaji and Ureje dams function in their full capacity to supply 1m cubic litres of water daily across communities across the state.”
The tweet alleged that the Ekiti residents now have access to potable water as pipelines conveying the water to various homes have been installed. However, as of the time of writing this report, there is no running pipe-borne water in Oye-Ekiti.
Mr Alimi, however, challenged the Federal and State governments to rise to the demands of the Oye-Ekiti people by providing a potable water system for them. He said this would really help the students.
He also called for good maintenance of every project explaining that this is “because I have seen cases where some development projects do not last.”
A member of staff of the Federal University, Wale Ajao said: “If private sector stakeholders can be mobilized to support the government, collectively, we will overcome water challenges in Oye Ekiti community.”
He, therefore, beseeched various stakeholders who are financially buoyant to support the government and the school authority towards solving the problem of water in the town.
However, as of the time of writing this report, the effort to reach the management of Ekiti State Water Corporation proved abortive as they are yet to reply to an email sent to them.
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