Residents of Ajose Community in Ogijo, Ogun State are calling on the government to come to their rescue following the pollution from factories in their midst.
The residents said their lives are in danger due to chemical wastes from African Foundries, an Indian-owned steel production factory.
The resident said the factory serves as the harbinger of death to over 1,000 residents of the community and urged the government to take prompt action to save them from death.
Strangely, when the African Foundries was established about four years ago, the hope was that it would bring succour to the residents of the community as it offered employment to the people.
However, the cordial relationship between the company and the community has turned sour as the residents are sleeping with nose masks to prevent inhaling the poisonous smoke from the factory.
Others said they contacted asthma, tuberculosis among other respiratory infections due to the unchecked carbondioxide emission, which pollutes the air.
A resident, Michael Ikukoyi, said: “I’ve been living here with here with my family for about two years now due to to the frequent rent increase by my landlord in Lagos but I never envisaged the health problems that the company has brought through their lack of human feeling put on the people.
“I’ve never really enjoyed staying here due to the havoc that the company has wreaked over the years.
“The smoke from their factory always blows across the community and it has affected my health and those of other residents.
“The tunnel, which is supposed to lead the smoke out into the air, is faulty and the smoke now comes into our homes.”
Another resident, A. Ashafa, said: “Recently, there was a blast from the factory, which was reminiscent of the Ikeja cantonment bomb blast of 2002.
“This happened the day after the Ileya celebration and it shook my house to its foundation that I thought armed robbers had besieged us.”
According to another resident of Ajose community, who works in the factory: “People are injured in the factory from time to time while working and we are suffering here.
“Something has to be done very soon before we witness worse troubles.”
A community leader, Alhaji Fatai Sekoni, said: “On the 1st of october 2012, there was a blast, which lasted about 45 seconds very early in the morning and since then it has been constant vibration.
“Each time it vibrates, you will think the entire building will collapse.
“Thank God most of the buildings here are bungalows.
“I just wonder when this mess will come to an end.
“They helped us get a transformer and so what?
“They have really destroyed lives here and we don’t want them here again.
“The factory has apart from the transformer never lived up to its corporate responsibility.”
The Community Development Office, Akoni Jamiu, accused the company of reneging on the agreement it entered into.
Jamiu stated that the management of African Foundries signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the community in September 2012 to address the pollution in the community but has not kept the promise.
He said: “How do you want me to explain the fact that we sleep with protective masks at night without power supply?
“The situation is so terrible that one man in the community was rushed to the hospital in the middle of the night after suffering from suffocation from the smoke that the factory emits.
“Asthma, tuberculosis are among other ailments that people here have had to contend with over the years because of the unchecked carbondioxide from the factory.
“The residents are now appealing to both the state and federal governments to assist them before we are all killed by the smoke emanating from the factory.
“We are writing a petition to the Ministry of the Environment and other government agencies to come to our aid.
“The heap of waste from the company is hazardous but they leave it exposed.
“We need help before people start dying.”
When contacted, the Managing Director of African Foundries, C. Charmas, said the company has taken measures to halt the pollution.
Charmas said: “We have cordial relationship with the people and we have put measures in place to keep everybody safe.
“We are committed to that and we are doing everything possible to achieve the desirable results for all.”