Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT) since its creation in 1976 has grown tremendously in all dimensions, possessing one of the best infrastructures in the world. Yet, it’s satellite towns seem to be abandoned. DAVID ADUGE-ANI, TARKAA DAVID and IGHO OYOYO report.
According to the United Nations (UN), Abuja is one of the fastest growing cities in the world and the fastest growing city on the African continent.
The city is also divided into six area councils namely, Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), Gwagwalada, Abaji, Kuje, Bwari and Kwali. There are also areas designated as satellite towns. These include, Kusaki/Yanga, Kuje, Rubochi, Anagada, Dobi, Gwagwalada, Zuba, Dei-Dei, Karshi, Gosa, Karu, Nyanya, Kubwa, Bwari, Abaji, Kwali, among others. LEADERSHIP Sunday gathered that one of the reasons for the creation of the satellite towns is to facilitate development in the rural areas of the territory.
However, while development in the FCT is concentrated at the city centres, especially in Maitama, Asokoro, Wuse, Garki and others, it is believed that infrastructures at the satellite towns are nothing to write home about. Ironically the majority of Abuja residents live in these satellite towns, which have next to non existent infrastructures.
Recently some residents of Junior Staff Quarters, Kuje and all other major areas of the council, lamented over the deplorable state of roads and epileptic power supply in their areas. The residents, who spoke with LEADERSHIP Sunday said that most major roads in the council had been abandoned for over 30-years, since the Shehu Shagari Administration.
According to them, the dilapidated roads and epileptic power supply had hindered economic and social activities to strive in the area. Mr. Chukuma Eze, a resident of Junior Staff Quarters, said that the area had suffered bad state of roads and epileptic power supply for decades. Eze added that the quarters, just opposite the Area Council Secretariat had been totally neglected for a very long time.
“This is the only road linking to this community and we have approached the council severally on the need to get it rehabilitated to ease movement. The entire neighborhood is always flooded when it rains and we find it difficult to use the road during rainy season.
We are appealing to the authorities to come to our aid, they should provide electricity and get the roads rehabilitated to ease our sufferings.”
Another resident of the area, Mr. Emmanuel Zam, said that if the roads were rehabilitated, it would ease movement and enhance rapid development in the area. “We have approached the council on the need to either grade the road or get it rehabilitated to ease movement and yet nothing has been done. The most painful part is that this road we are talking about also leads to the area council secretariat and yet the roads have been abandoned. We are appealing to Kuje area council to come to our aid and get the road rehabilitated in the interest of fairness,” he said.
Also, another resident, Mrs. Sarah Kaka complained about epileptic power supply to the area, adding that the sound of generator by the residents in the area was causing discomfort in the neighborhood. “We are also experiencing epileptic power supply in the area and the sound of generator every night poses a lot of discomfort in the neighborhood. Even some communities in Kuje enjoy power supply more than us in this area.”
Again, a resident Byazhin town in Kubwa town of Bwari area council, Joyce Oreva decrying the lack of basic social amenities in the area, adding that the government has forgotten about their welfare.
Oreva said that the road linking the area to Kubwa has been in a terrible condition for long, despite efforts to make the road motorable, noting that the situation gets worse once it rains and called on the government to expedite actions to tar the road for the benefit of the residents who are mostly low income earners.
“Our problems here are many. We have no good road, clean water nor steady power supply. If it rains, the road becomes a mess and when it dries, you become covered with dust when you pass,” she said.
Another resident of the area, Eugene Useni told LEADERSHIP Sunday that though the government ought to provide basic social amenities to its citizens, the reverse is the case as residents struggle and sometimes pay extra for these services. Useni noted that he as a tenant at Byazhin, pays outrageous amount to the AEDC with little or no power supply and buys water from the truck pushers.
He lamented that the worse is the hike in transport fare to Kubwa town where they move to the city centre for their daily life affairs. Useni said that the residents have to trek some distance due to the refusal of Okada riders to ply the road once it rains. He narrated that despite the harsh realities of life occasioned by the acute lack of basic amenities, the area also has a high rate of crimes ranging from cultism and armed robbery.
An Okada rider, Shefiu Mohammed said he does not like to ply the Byazhin across road, because the road is muddy and full of gallops.
Mohammed said the road wrecks havoc on his bike which is his only source of livelihood in Abuja.
In Bwari town some residents decry hiking by the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) for blackout and poor water supply among others. Luck Alhassan, who runs a barber’s shop said he uses generator to carry out his business but pays for the cables so that he will not be disconnected. Alhassan said that the AEDC officials go out harrassing and intimidating the residents with uniformed men to pay for services that they do not enjoy.
“We in Bwari are suffering, we do not have good roads network and the water supply is not steady. We buy drinking water from ‘Mai ruwa’ and now we live in fear of crisis due to chieftaincy between the Gbagyi and Hausa community, “ he said.
Another resident of the community, Jacob Amokwa noted that though the town is connected to the water grid, many areas are deprived of clean and safe water as their supply is always short of the demand. Amokwa called on the relevant agencies to prevail on the AEDC to stop the harassment and ensure that the issues causing unrest within the area are resolved for businesses to revive.
A resident of Gwagwalada, James Aliyu decried the deplorable condition of social amenities in the area council and it’s environ. Aliyu, who is a resident of old Kutunku in Gwagwalada said the road connecting the area has been bad describing it as a death trap, noting that motorists plying the road are always at the mercy of the mechanics that they must visit, due to potholes and gallops.
Also, a resident of Abaji town, Joseph Yunusa told our reporter that the major challenge facing the area is poor electricity supply, adding that many people who use power for their various businesses have resorted to using generators. “Our major problem in Abaji town today is epileptic power supply from Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC). Many businesses here have folded up due to this problem, because it is not every business that can afford the use of generators.”
The situation is also not different in some communities in Abuja municipal Area Council (AMAC). In Kurudu town, heaps of refuse are common site on the streets. They also have the challenge of inaccessible roads into residential areas, as well as poor electricity supply. Danjuma Salifu, a resident of the community told LEADERSHIP Sunday that the situation is alarming. Similarly, in Gwagwa community of AMAC, residents are confronted daily by bad road and poor drainage
systems in the area. In fact, the major road running through the area
has remained untarred and dusty. It also becomes muddy when it rains and frustrating for most residents. Added to this is the absence of regular electricity supply to the area. Mohammed Abu, who lives in the community, said that the bad road in the area is frustrating.
Lugbe along a major road leading into Abuja from the Nnamdi International Airport has roads that have been in very bad condition and getting worse everyday. According to a residence who has been living there for some years, the situation is so bad that drivers are always reluctant to go there. “Some people have even moved out of Lugbe because of the bad roads. A journey that ought to take maybe 20 minutes into the area will be almost 45 minutes to an hour. And this is an area that is under AMAC. You begin to wonder if at all they are going to do anything about it.
“Several businesses are cropping up around here and nice houses but the roads are just unbearable and very discouraging. There are some roads in Kubwa that is even farther from the FCT that are far better than what we have in Lugbe that is closer. And this is an area under the municipal in Abuja, a capital that is supposed to experience an all round development. We are appealing to the government to please do something about it. If this is done it will eventually aid decongestion in the city centres and highbrow areas.”
However, the coordinator, Satellite Town Development Department (STDD), Hon Ishiaku Tanko Yamawo told LEADERSHIP Sunday that the
Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has made a proposal of about N25 billion in the 2018 budget for the construction of infrastructure in the FCT satellite towns.
Yamawo explained that he has personally visited the satellite towns, in the six area councils, shortly after he assumed office, where he met with political and traditional leaders to know their challenges and their priorities in developing the areas. He stated that as today, most of the contractors, who abandoned their projects at the satellite towns, due to lack of payment are back on site, because the FCT minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, has been releasing funds for full payment to the contractors.
“Today, most of the contractors in the satellite towns, are back on site, which was not so before we assumed office, due to lack of release of funds. However, the FCT minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, has been releasing funds for the contractors to be paid and I know they have been fully paid and that is why they are back on site as at today, trying to put things in place.”
The STDD coordinator also called on residents of the FCT, especially those living in the area councils to help sustain the development efforts of the FCTA in the satellite towns.
“Residents should help the administration sustain whatever we are doing in their communities. This is because if the facilities we are building in the satellite towns are not being sustained by the residents, then all what we are dong would be in vain. Also, am calling on FCT residents to join hands with government to bring life to whatever we are doing, especially by avoiding dumping refuse into the drainages to avoid flooding.”
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