Environment Featured Headline Imo News Nigeria Special Report

Ilile community sends SOS over lack of amenities

The residents of the Ilile community in Imo state’s Ohaji Egbema local government area have urged the state government to repair the Umuapu-Ilile end of the road that connects the area with the Obinze village in order to lessen their suffering.

Ilile is one of the oil-bearing communities that has continued to struggle due to a lack of access to fundamental facilities.

Aside from the deteriorated nature of the area’s lone road, which was built by the administration of the late Dr Sam Mbakwe in 1983, residents also lack access to health care, potable water, and power.

The President General of the Community, Mr Athanasius Nwagbara, stated in an interview with Radio Nigeria that the region has become a safe haven for criminals who kidnap motorists travelling on the road in the evenings.

He expressed concern that the poor condition of the road between Umuapu and Ilile and Obinze also worsened the economic status of the people, the majority of whom are farmers, “since it is now difficult for them to transport their produce to markets outside of the area,” he said.

While bemoaning the excessive expense of transportation, Mr Nwagbara stated that a trip that would have normally cost N200 on a motorcycle now costs approximately N500. He also mentioned that efforts to attract the attention of the government did not result in any positive outcomes.

“It is only by the grace of God that we are even able to have access to other communities through this road, and that is why you can see the community putting in so much effort on its own behalf. At one point, we were unable to even access the community that was immediately adjacent to us, and it was impossible for us to go outside and buy things that we can sell in the community because the road made things so challenging. Our primary mode of transportation is the okada, which is why we request assistance from the government. ” He said

A resident, Prince Azubuike Ekezie, said that the lack of security agencies has led to the increased use of illicit narcotics, claiming that the only time they are ‘remembered’ is during electioneering.

“You start to question why an oil-producing community that also produces the majority of the food that people in Owerri eat is inaccessible to outsiders.” We are not engaging in partisan politics; rather, what we require is sound governance—the kind of careful attention to detail and efficient operation that can be provided by an honest administration.”

Elder Romanus Amadi, an octogenarian, and Mrs Glory Ekezie, a woman leader, bemoaned the lack of health services in the community, stating that the condition has continued to cost the lives of pregnant women and children.

“We do not appreciate the way the Imo state government and the federal government are treating us; we have no hospital; therefore, if anything happens, the individual will die here. When mothers go into labour, it could be in the middle of the night, and there is no way to get help. However, if we had a health centre here, it would be easier for us to care for them. Because of the distance, some mothers choose not to immunise their children because they believe the cost will be too high”.

According to Mr Ken Achonwa, a legal practitioner who lives in the community, residents in the area have not had access to power for the last five years.

Radio Nigeria tried to contact Mr Emeka Eze, the Public Relations Officer for Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC), and Mr Declan Emelumba, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy in Imo State, but neither of them responded to the text messages that were sent to their mobile phones. As a result,

Reporting by Chinazo Ilechukwu; Editing by Saadatu Albashir