After many years of failed efforts by advocacy groups for Kuchidna, Kubusu community in Karu local government area of Nasarawa State, located on the fringe of Federal Capital Territory, FCT to be given either water, light, or health care centre, a non-governmental body stepped in where the government failed. Gloria Olunwa writes.
The sad story of Kuchidna, Kubusu community in Karu local government area of Nasarawa State with a population of 3,000 began to change on February 18, this year when the Tracking Needs Team from Basic Rights Watch visited the community for research and investigation following baseline indicators that established that the community has several critical basic social amenities challenges.
This community, just on the outskirt of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT is strangely cut off totally from basic social amenities, that are taken for granted by members of its surrounding communities.
Among the challenges faced by the community are lack of access to electricity, dilapidated health care and primary school facilities and abject lack of clean water. The community depends on a benevolent earth hole that retains water from rainy season rainfall for drinking, cooking and carrying out every domestic chores. Because this is an unhygienic source of water, inhabitants of the community are permanently at the mercy diarrhea, cholera and all manners of water-borne diseases that result in their deaths.
After the trip, Basic Rights Watch prioritized the challenge of potable water in Kuchidna over every other challenges that are competing for attention in the community.
Basic Rights Watch kicked off with intensive advocacy for the community, reaching out to relevant stakeholders. On the April 5, 2017, its tracking team sent advocacy letters to all concerned government personnel and organizations for intervention with just the provision of water in the community as a matter of urgency. Those reached out to included: the governor of the state, Tanko Al-makura; member representing Karu, Keffi and Kokona Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives; senator representing Nasarawa West Senatorial District, Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; member representing Gurku, in Nasarawa State House of Assembly; Karu local government chairman, Nasarawa State; commissioner of Water Resources and Rural Development, Ministry of Water Resources and Rural Development, Nasarawa State; managing Director, Upper Niger River Basin Development Authority; and the commissioner of Health, State Ministry of Health, Nasarawa State. All of the above, all refused to minister to the water needs of the community.
While the people in government and the government authorities showed no concern, Basic Rights Watch opted to reach out to non-governmental stakeholders. The hope that was lost finally came through this direction from Live Bridge Foundation, which was moved to provide a water borehole for the community.
The community only had to provide a site for the water project for Live Bridge. At the moment, Live bridge Foundation has completed the borehole project and it is functional. With this, the people of Kuchidna community for the very first in their lives now have a clean source of drinking water.
Speaking during the commissioning of the project, the CEO of Basic Rights Watch, Mr Austin Ekwujuru stated that “This is a huge milestone in our efforts towards providing basic social amenities to Kuchidna community. We are confident that this will go a long way in ameliorating the water crisis faced by the community and also reduce the incidence of diseases and deaths caused by the unhygienic water source previously used by the community.”
It should be noted that despite the eventual provision of water to the Kuchidna community, the community’s education facility remains in dire straits. This is due to the fact that the community’s primary school is grossly dilapidated, it contains only a few blocks, with no desks, leaking roofs, broken walls and mud floor; and has only two teachers, overseeing the tutelage of the entire pupils.
This condition jeopardizes the ability of Kuchidna children to access elementary education. The school needs human resources, desks, text books, rehabilitation and expansion.
The community also needs a functional primary health care facility. The only primary health care facility in the community is bereft of even pain relievers, let alone vaccines because it has no fridges for storing drugs. The community health centre also lacks a medical doctor, electricity, water supply, and toilet facility. It only has a community health worker and two ill-equipped wards and does not have the capacity to admit a patient.
This situation ensures that there must a death in emergencies. The primary health care centre, PHC needs human resources, drugs, vaccines, fridge, beds, equipment, electricity while the building needs rehabilitation.
The community has already provided a site for a PHC construction as the one currently in use belongs to a member of the community and it is being put in use only temporally.
“We want to sincerely appreciate all at Live bridge Foundation whose intervention has brought joy to the people of Kuchidna community while still calling on all relevant government and non-governmental authorities to urgently intervene in providing other basic social amenities as stated above for the community,” said Iko Michael, Kuchidna community spokesman.