Bmuko community is one of the communities in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), where basic social amenities are luxury. TARKAA DAVID and TAYO TAIWO write on how residents of this community cope with this situation.
Bmuko, a community under Bwari area council has been in existence for over 200 years, with little or no government presence. The community, which is predominantly occupied by the indigenous Gbagyi people of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), has other tribes in Nigeria and beyond living in the area. LEADERSHIP gathered that as more people move into the community, there is more pressure and demand for basic social amenities.
The traditional ruler of the community, Ibrahim Yahaya Dangana told our reporter that the community can only boast of a government primary school and a motorised borehole, donated by the Venus Mining Company, operating in the area. Dangana noted that though the community is part of those that host the Usman Dam project, they are not connected to the FCT water grid, which exposes residents to waterborne diseases.
He wondered why the government has refused to connect community to the water grid, which is underneath their soil, but gives to other people without recourse. The traditional ruler also explained that the community has made several appeals to Bwari area council for the establishment of a primary healthcare and junior secondary which, according to him is still pending approval.
He disclosed that the electricity enjoyed in the community today is purely the efforts of the community with the support of the mining companies and called on the government to support them with more transformers for stable power supply, and equally appealed to the FCT commissioner of police to expedite actions to established a police outpost within the community to properly secure lives and properties.
The traditional ruler explained further that the community, though relatively peaceful, needs the presence of a police outpost for quick response to crimes, adding that to ensure the security of lives and properties, the community has setup a community to strategise on how best to police the community, while the committee has divided the community into four zones each, with a coordinator to address security issues.
“The little dividends of democracy we enjoy in Bmuko is the primary school, some of the classes were built by the UBEB and Bwari area council. We don’t have a secondary school in Bmuko community, but we are pursuing that as well. We have also forwarded our request several times to Bwari area council to assist us at least, to establish a small clinic but it’s still on the way,” he said.
Also, the chairman, National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), at the Venus Mining Company Quarry site, Mr. Christian Sabbath said the company in its modest efforts has been responding to the needs of the community in order to better the lots of the people. Christian said though the road is not tarred the company in its contribution always uses its waste products to fill the potholes and then water the road to reduce the dust. He however blamed the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel for not making it conditional for the quarries to construct roads for the residents before commencing their operations.
He revealed that when the community mounts pressure on the mining company to construct the road or stop operations, they called the federal government to calm the communities and the community is now living in this pitiable condition.
“I blame the Federal Ministry of Mines for the poor nature of quarry host communities. They ought to have given the quarry operators guidelines on what to do in the community before commencing their operations,” he said.
He also noted that the activities of miners pose a danger to those living around and called on people to desist from living close to the mining site, just as he stated that the community is selling lands to people very close to the quarry, when even the quarry workers move to a far distance when it’s want to blast. He said they have experienced situations whereby a large stone from the blast will land on the bottom of the hill. He wonders what will happen if such a stone lands on a building.
A resident of the community, Eunice Aniah said the road into the community has been made worse by the activities of the miners, adding that the residents have been making concerted efforts to ensure they have a good road network. Aniah also accused a Chinese company, operating in the area, of not doing enough for the community that hosts it, noting that the government has abandoned the community, even though it has collected money from the companies operating in the community.
“When I first came in here the road was bad but later made worse when the Quarries came. Due to their nonchalant attitude to human life, we constructed speed bumps to protect our children from their reckless drivers. Later, they removed the bumps and only recently, one of their drivers crushed a little boys legs and he was amputated,” she said.
Recall that only recently, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) said that it has earmarked about N70 billion in the 2018 budget, to improve infrastructure development and public utilities, in parts of the FCT, especially within the capital city and the satellite towns.
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