By Chinonso Alozie

OWERRI—IMO State indigenes have been warned to stop using water from Nworie River in the state for domestic use as the water has become unsafe for human consumption.

Alexander Nwaozuzu Acholonu, an indigene of Awaka, Owerri North local government area of Imo State and Professor of Biology made this known in a lecture he delivered during the Imo Diaspora Lectures and Awards, organized by Concept Masters in the state.

The Owerri municipality, from time immemorial, had been blessed with natural rivers including the Otamiri, Nworie and Lake Nwaebere.

These natural sources of water, were used by the locals before the coming of the colonial masters.

Nworie River, taken over by weeds and coliform bacteria

However, with the transformation of Owerri into a provincial capital and much later, a state capital, the population of the municipality grew astronomically, just as roads were constructed and are  still being paved by successive administrations with residential and public office buildings following   suit.

But Acholonu, in his lecture said that a research on the potability of Nworie River, warned Imo people to avoid contact with Nworie River, stressing that it could be dangerous to health.

“The river has coliform bacteria,” Acholonu said during his lecture which took place at the Concorde Hotel, Owerri.

He explained further on the issue, telling the South East Voice shortly after his lecture with the theme: “The role of the diaspora in nation building, how dangerous coliform bacteria in Nworie River was.”

He said: “When we test water, we test it on three areas including the physical, chemical and biological.

“The biological test of samples of Nworie water showed that it has coliform bacteria and that is what I showed you all in the hall. It means that the water is polluted and extremely unsafe for human consumption. Therefore, it needs thorough clean up.”

Acholonu regretted that the dredging of Nworie river which was started by Governor Ikedi Ohakim, was abandoned by the present administration under Rochas Okorocha, adding that if the present administration had continued with the dredging of the river it could have saved the present threat on the people.

Meanwhile, a community activist, Clinton Ezeigwe with the Christian Fellowship and Care Foundation, in Imo state, has called on the Imo state government to urgently move into action to provide medical assistance to those using the Nworie River water for domestic purposes if ascertained that coliform bacteria actually existed in the river.

According to Ezeigwe,”this is the first time I am getting this information, if this river is said to have coliform bacteria people living there are at great risk. It is obvious that those people living there are not informed.

“The water is no longer safe for consumption whether is for cooking or bathing. Sometimes, you see children run to the river to take their bath and they may have contacted the bacteria which may lead to so many other water related diseases and it will also take time to manifest.”

As part of the precautionary steps that ought to be taken to avoid further spread of the bacteria, he said that, “those living around the Nworie river axis should be sensitized on the danger of making use of the water for any domestic activities.”

He further suggested that, the government could also embark on water treatment process to kill the coliform bacteria in the river.

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