By Solomon Odeniyi
Residents of Obalende in Ipetu-Ijesa, Oriade Local Government of the State of Osun have disclosed that the construction of the hazardous mast station was forced on the inhabitants of the community by armed soldiers.
According to the residents, about six soldiers supervised the construction of the mast till its completion stage.
Some of the residents who spoke with OSUN DEFENDER yesterday said the service of the soldiers was allegedly enlisted by the IHS Tower, the company that erected the mast and a man they referred to as ‘lawyer’ who was accused of fraudulently selling the land to the company.
Mr. Rasidi Daramola, who resided in a house less than three metres to the mast station, told the medium that some landlords and other residents of the area objected to the construction of the tower because of its health hazard on the people.
Daramola stated that his sister, Ms Funke Daramola and him and some other residents of the area attempted to stop the construction of the mast by appealing to workers on site to consider the health implication of the tower on the people.
He said they had known from the beginning that the mast would definitely have debilitating effects on the environment and the people, maintaining that the land on which the tower is erected was fraudulently sold to IHS.
Daramola said: “I was living in that house which is less than three metres to the mast station. I moved out of the house in 2015 when my daughter’s health was deteriorating and the doctor told me that it was the mast beside our house that was affecting our health. The noise and vibration of the mast’s generator was even unbearable for us.
“Our dad, Pa Daramola had also died during the construction of the mast. He fell on the granite that was offloaded at the front of the house, which was not known to him.
“Before the construction of the site, landlords and other people in the area protested. We did not want the mast to be erected because we had known that it would badly affect our environment and health. But the owners of the mast went ahead to bring soldiers to supervise the work, so that we would not be able to protest again.
“The soldiers were about six and they were armed. They stayed all through the period of the construction of the mast. We could not do anything again because we feared that the soldiers might shoot us.
“The soldiers were beating everybody then. They even threw stones at us. One officer Aliu was part of the soldiers. That is why the mast is standing there now. We were helpless at its construction stage.”
OSUN DEFENDER had exclusively reported that the telecom mast allegedly erected by the IHS Towers in Obalende area of Ipetu-Ijesa had been having devastating effect on the health of occupants of houses and shops around the area.
It was earlier reported that the radiation of the mast, the noise pollution, heat and fumes from the generating set powering it had caused severe damages to the health system of the people.
The mast has also evicted house owners and tenants who could no longer cope with the unhealthy environment and danger posed to their health by it.