A group of women from Rido Community in Kaduna state have said that the activities of Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company (KRPC) situated in the area made them barren and caused their men to have reduced sex drive.
The women, who staged a protest at the NDA Junction in Kaduna, alleged that the emission from KRPC over the years made them barren and caused their husbands to have erectile dysfunction.
Some of the protesters told journalists that they suffered one form of reproductive health problem or the other due to the toxic waste from the KRPC, adding that their men had weak erection and infertility.
An analyst on the community, Mohammed Bashar, said: “Most of the complaints could be associated with secondary infertility, because victims have, in the past, given birth to children before they suddenly stopped. There was widespread belief that smoke and poisonous gases emitted from the refinery have reproductive health effect on people living in the area, but no medical report has confirmed the allegation due to inability of villagers to seek comprehensive medical tests, perhaps owing to lack of awareness and poverty.”
“Also, villagers claim that infants and children suffer heath effects that sometimes lead to disability or death.”
Jummai Isaac, 27, said she got married in year 2000 and suffered from infertility. “I haven’t conceived since I got married in the last fourteen years, and doctors have, on several occasions, confirmed to me absence of any known cause of inability to get pregnant. Initially, doctors thought I had fibroid in my womb, but after scanning and some medical tests, they dispelled that notion.”
According to one Khadijah Hassan, “there were several instances of early miscarriages, prenatal deaths and child disabilities in the village.
“Although many people believe that the cases could be linked to toxic waste and smoke from the refinery, but we haven’t got the means to commission an independent inquiry into the allegation or even undergo medical tests. I was crippled in the right leg at the age of three, and when I was taken to hospital, doctors told my parents that we should look for traditional medicine to treat the condition, because they could not find the exact cause.”
The Acting Medical Director of Yusuf Dan Tsoho Hospital in Kaduna, Dr Dangaru M. Saleh, said health workers had noticed the emergence of reproductive cases, including infertility in males and females as well as erectile dysfunction in the locality.
According to him, “there were various medical issues that can lead to the blockage of the female genital tract or weakness in the male organ, and prevent births such as fungal, bacterial and viral infections, but chemicals or toxic gases from industries are sources of reproductive problems too. Some chemical companies and refineries radiate substances in solid, liquid and gaseous forms that are toxic to humans and plants. These substances such as hydrocarbons can combine with others to cause serious health complications, such as infertility and people working there must use protective clothing.”
He said: “The problem of lack of proper waste management by the companies can cause widespread infections, if toxic chemicals are deposited in rivers, foods or inhaled in the air.”
Meanwhile, the community located in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State has gone to court seeking a declaration that the KRPC and others had a duty of care to ensure that the environment is not adversely or severely affected.