The Nachi Lake “Miracles”: Poor People, Poor Society, Poor Governance

Posted: March 27, 2016 in Governance, Government, Institutions
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Lake Nachi

The Nachi Lake emerged ‘spontaneously, out of the ground in Nachi, Enugu State, Nigeria in 2011 and has since become a “health spa” of sorts. It is right to assume that if there is no explanation for the emergence of a natural earth phenomenon in Nigeria, “The Gods are to Blame” or “To Be Praised” depending on how it affects the lives of people who encounter it. In this case, The Gods Are to Be Praised. Bathing in the gooey and foul-smelling water of the lake is said by countless people to cure physical and spiritual illnesses. Millions have visited the lake for the “miracles” of healing, purported to be secured after bathing in the water. Nevertheless, what are the people actually bathing in Nachi, the land that produced Andrew Jonathan Nok?

It is worth wondering why someone among the countless degree holders, masters holders and PhD holders in environmental science [chemistry, ecology, monitoring, protection, management, sustainability etc.] who work at universities, teaching hospitals, independent laboratories or environmental agencies, have not tested the lake to find out its composition. In a properly governed nation, every chemical, biological and physical toxin / toxicant in the lake from its mysterious emergence in 2011 to present day would have been identified, monitored and catalogued by the appropriate professionals.

If there any dangers to people bathing in the lake the place would be sealed off. What is in the lake that makes it so gooey and foul [sulphide]-smelling? Sulphides are responsible for those smells produced when humans pass wind, but it is also a potentially dangerous gas. For a stagnant water bathers in the water may have seriously polluted the lake with a variety of bodily debris and toxins, which is potentially very dangerous. Has the Government of Nigeria (GON) really not heard about Lake Nachi? Or is it waiting for United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) or the World Health Organisation (WHO) to do it for them?

Nigeria is a nation so poor that if you visit churches that claim to offer its faithful spontaneous, instant and irreversible miracle cures to their various illnesses you will see people seeking healing for myopia (short-sightedness), toothache, malaria, whitlow, multiple boils, ringworm etc. as written on the placard help up for the healing pastor. These medical problems are routinely easy to solve by inexpensive visits to opticians, dentists and doctors or drug stores but as inexpensive as they are the majority of the population cannot afford them. Cheaper alternative remedies and those offered by clerics only if an offering is given becomes their only hope. Unrestricted access to a ‘miracle working’ lake is cheaper still.

The unrelenting and ever-erratic search for miracles by many Nigerians is increasingly becoming apparent as being fuelled by economic hopeless and poverty rather than superstition and ignorance. Poor Nigerians with serious health issues know that if they had the money, they would do exactly what their rich compatriots do; go overseas for treatment. Besides, the Nigeria healthcare system is not in good shape and value for money is a common casualty.

“Lake Nachi water” is drunk all around Nigeria. The use of Nachi Lake for healing is an epidemiologist’s nightmare if it turns out the lake is a toxic cesspool. There is no way to track the countless Nigerians and other nationals that have visited the lake if it is found that the lake is laced with compounds that could cause serious illness or death months or years after full body immersion in the lake or drinking its water. That would cause the people who sought a miracle cure from the lake to seek yet another miracle cure elsewhere. But it would also be another convenient ‘avoided cost’ for the GON.

However, we sincerely hope Lake Nachi is not a cause of disaster for its clients but it would be nice to know what is in it. Are there no health / environmental budgets at federal and state levels for such?

Grimot Nane

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