Nghar village, located 30miles southwest of Jos, the capital of Plateau State, has for months shared drinking water source with animals.
Displaced by violent attacks in June 2018, the villagers stayed in an IDP camp near the Plateau State Polytechnic, Barkin Ladi, till government relocated them back home in December 2019.
Their food and water sources including stored crops were however destroyed during the attacks. An only surviving well, about 20ft deep, had dried up having been out of use for long.
The villagers returning to their rubbled homes therefore have to wake up everyday as early as 2am to compete for the few liters of water that would have gathered in the well before it gets muddy.
A wide shallow stream located over a mile away is however their main source of water. Animals drink from same source. But the villagers have no choice.
To avoid germs, they dig and make a crater in the the soft sand beside the flowing water. When water settles in it, they scoop it into their containers and take home for drinking and other household use.
On April 30, 2020, a photo documentary on the water challenge in the village was shot by one of Light Bearer reporters. 24hours later, a 17year-old boy, Dazat Irmiya Magit died from chronic typhoid.
The lead character in the 2mins documentary, Mrs. Lydia Joshua had said many children in the village were sick from drinking the dirty water.
On the fourth day of releasing the documentary, when two local elite groups were still debating on when and how to intervene, a stranger who identified himself as Bayo Balogun called from Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital located nearly 1000 miles from Jos.
“I was touched when I saw that video and my family and I would like to help,” said the gentle sounding voice on the phone. The offer was probably not the biggest ever made to a community in distress following such media reports. However, coming during the world’s biggest health and economic crisis, it is perhaps the most significant. This is particularly as it seeks to address one of the world’s leading cause of death – waterborne diseases.
Balogun as he calls himself might be a Pastor from his tone, or perhaps an angel. Whatever he is, he is saving at the over 1000 poor villagers whose relations – about 90 were killed, their homes razed, and their hopes of achieving a comfortable life dashed. The over 600 children who’d drink from the borehole already being designed for drilling, now have hope for the future. They would live to become something that the world would benefit.
Thus, this stranger, who has likely never been to Plateau State, is saving the entire world; and his benevolence, even if forgotten, would impact generations to come.