Some residents of Naka, the headquarters of the Gwer West Local Government Area of Benue State, have cried out over water wells have been polluted by substances suspected to be petroleum products.
No fewer than 40 wells were reported to have been affected in the area and were endangering the lives of the residents.
Residents of the Kpejnde/High-level community in Naka called on the government, security agencies, the state House of Assembly and other relevant stakeholders to come to their rescue before the situation would get out of hand.
According to Punch, some of the over 3,000 residents of the Kpejnde/High-level community, expressed fear that the entire area might go up in flames if nothing was urgently done about the situation.
Youths and commercial motorcyclists were said to have besieged the area to scoop the fuel.
One of the residents, Mr Angba Francis, said their source of water had been polluted, making it impossible for them to use the water for domestic purposes.
Also, a middle-aged woman, who identified herself simply as Mrs Iverem, stated that her daughter was almost roasted by fire when she was about to boil the water she fetched from a well.
“As soon as my daughter tried to light a stove to boil the water, the pot exploded,” she said.
Other residents, Nyigba Geoffery and Gerrard Ugbede, who spoke on the development, complained that they noticed the pollution three years ago.
“We started noticing this problem about three years ago and reported the matter to the owner of the only filling station here, the police division and the DPR, but nothing was heard from them,” they stated.
However, the owner of the filling station, Gabriel Oguche, said there was no problem with the underground tanks, stating that the pollution of the wells was not from his station.
The Head of Health, Safety and Environment, Department of Petroleum Resources in Makurdi, Mr Salihu Mohammad, said the agency was aware of the situation but asked the community to write a formal letter to the DPR to enable it take it up and obtain samples from the polluted wells.
The caretaker chairman of the local government, Francis Ayarta, who decried the situation, promised that urgent steps would be taken to address the problem.
He promised to engage all stakeholders and the owner of the filling station in order to seek lasting solutions before the situation would get out of hand.