6th July, 2011
In this 21st century, common illnesses like malaria and typhoid fever still kill people in Epe, Lagos State, owing to the deplorable condition of the General Hospital and health centres in the area.
This was part of the challenges enumerated by the lawmaker representing the area at the state House of Assembly, Abiodun Tobun.
The lawmaker, who has canvassed government’s attention since the inauguration of the seventh Assembly, told Assembly Matters that Epe has been abandoned by the government which has concentrated more on other areas of the state.
Tobun, who was almost in tears while speaking with Assembly Matters, said â€œconcerning the General Hospital in Epe, I donâ€™t want to use an adjective, it is not functional. I am telling you that it is very difficult for the hospital to operate a simple hernia. People die of minor ailments like malaria.
â€œI have close relations who have died of such ailments. My elder brotherâ€™s wife died of typhoid fever because there were not enough medical personnel to attend to the sick. The few ones there have become too proud while there are not even no serviceable generating sets to power the hospital.
â€œIn those days, there were five general hospitals in the five districts of the state and Epe was one. All the others have been upgraded now but the one in Epe is left unattended to.
â€œWhen people are sick, they are rushed to the city centre and most of them die before getting there. To be modest too, good hands are not being posted to Epe in terms of medical personnel, while there are no facilities in the hospital.â€
The lawmaker, who maintained that there was pressure on him to bring government presence to the area, said apart from the health challenges, there is also infrastructure problems.
â€œElectricity is not even there, we only have cables and transformers and in some cases where you see light, it is like candle light and most times, you don’t even see it to use for months,â€ he said, adding that it was disheartening to know that the area does not have a single industry as the ones located there are now moribund because they could not break even because most of the operators were using their money on fuel to run the generators.
For example, he said, the Lamp Industry, Epe Boat Yard and Epe Plywood Industry have closed down and now, there is nothing on ground for the people.
â€œAnother issue is the route to Epe. The road from Ikorodu to the town is a death trap and needs expansion because most vehicles travelling to the eastern part of the country use it.
â€œIt was constructed a very long time ago and the traffic on that road is too heavy. It is very narrow and has caused a lot of accidents.
â€œYou cannot find any of the renovated schools by government in Epe. In other parts of the state, government built high-rise schools popularly called Millennium Schools, but we don’t have one and donâ€™t know if we are no longer a part of the state,â€ he added.
He explained that because of unemployment which has become very high as a result of these problems, delinquencies like thuggery and cultism have become rampant since those who graduate go back home to add to the teeming unemployed population.
While pleading with the state government to come to the aid of the people of the area, the lawmaker said â€œyou can imagine that the road from Lagos ends in Ibeju-Lekki instead of getting to Epe. The electricity linked from the Victoria Island end was stopped at Ibeju-Lekki and never got to Epe.
â€œWe used the electricity linked to us from Ijebu-Ode until recently. Epe is referred to as a dead end because when we realised that the voltage was not enjoyable, we decided to link electricity from Ikorodu. But instead of bringing it to Epe directly, they passed it through Odomola where it was stepped down before it got to Epe.
â€œThis has affected so many artisans who also have ended up dropping their trades to either become okada riders or political thugs.
â€œThe Lagos State University annex in Epe is gradually folding up. The pre-degree course which was run in the annex has been moved to Badagry and given another name, Foundation and the idea is to short-change us.â€
On efforts he had made so far, he said he had been to the Ministry of Rural Development to report the situation in the area so that it could be recognised while he is preparing the proposal for the next financial year.
He also said he intended to take up the issue of health with those in the Ministry of Health, adding, “we will continue to talk, shout and urge government to come to our aid.â€