Lagos community lacks electricity, water, hospitals
By Anthony Obi
When the colonial government arrived in Nigeria, Takwa Bay was their first point of convergence. They brought along with them the civilization of the West. But today, this popular island in Lagos State has been forgotten and forsaken, and residents there are living with the fear that the place might soon go into extinction.
Takwa Bay was once the abode of the then colonial Governor-General of Nigeria, Lord Frederick Lugard, and home to many prominent Nigerians. It was also home to a number of multinational companies. But right now, what is left to remember of those good days are the ruins.
The only attractions that draw people to the island nowadays are the famous Light House Tower (ship signal light) and the beach.
The island, which serves as source of revenue to the federal and state governments, lacks essential amenities and it is perhaps the biggest market in Lagos for substandard drugs. Even as the residents are surrounded by water, they still have to pay through their noses to have distilled water for consumption.
In the same way, getting electric power supply in Takwa Bay is a Herculean task. Residents of Takwa Bay generate power on their own; not one electric pole passes through the community. While the reporter was there recently, a young man in his twenties suddenly signalled to his friends that a neighbour had just switched on his generator. All the young men rushed to their different homes to fetch their phones and chargers, after which they raced to the neighbour’s house to charge their phones.
But of all the problems of Takwa Bay residents, the total absence of functional health care facilities is the most gruelling.
The community has only one hospital – the Takwa Bay Medical Centre, which serves the community and six other communities surrounding it. The gigantic hospital has a total number of five nurses and one visiting doctor attending to the health needs of the island’s 40,000 dwellers.
Narrating the community’s ordeal to the reporter, Secretary to the Council of the Baale, Hon. Adesina James, said the community boasts of a good health facility in terms of physical structure.
“But there are not much health practitioners working there. We have very few hands working in the hospital. We were able to get accommodation for the nurses when they didn’t have a place to stay, but we are yet to get one for the doctor. We want the government to come to our aid because in the hospital there is no light, no water, and there is no adequate medical equipment.”
Corroborating Adesina’s claim, the Community Development Association (CDA), Chairman, Ben Boco, said: “We are confronted with broad challenges. The community is lacking in basic amenities needed here. We don’t have light, we don’t have water and a functional health facility. Actually, we have a structure called health care centre here, but what is the good of such facility without personnel and medications?”
Recently, some succour came the way of residents of the community when a non-governmental organisation, Community Tours and Sensitisation (CTS) announced plans to train 50 health ambassadors to help in administering first aid.
The Chairman and Founder, CTS, Femi Adaballe, said when officials of the organisation visited the island of Takwa Bay, they were fascinated by the medical centre and in the course of their further research, they discovered that the community has many paramedics, practising and retired, that could be trained.
“We discovered, during our research, that within the community, there are many paramedics. We discovered that we have them, retired and practising, young and adult, with very good understanding of what health issues are all about. So, we decided to have a platform, a well-established structure in which we will be able to train relevant residents here on first aid treatment,” he stated.
Adaballe noted that after training the first 50 first aid volunteers the organisation would be partnering with international agencies to bring in medications and eradicate the substandard drugs sold to residents of the island.