Photo credit: Sun News
Dogon Gada, a small settlement sandwiched by EFAB and Sunnyvale Estates, in the Lokogoma District of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, can be said to be lacking community in the midst of abundance.
The community is very conspicuously located such that residents can claim to be among the main city dwellers. In fact, it could easily be accessed from Asokoro, Maitama and other areas justly considered the heart of the seat of power.
However, the strategic and location seems to be all that Dogon Gada and its occupants can boast of as basic amenities like clean and accessible water, constant power supply and good access roads are luxuries to them.
The deplorable condition of the entrance road has been a nightmare to the residents that are mostly indigenes, both during the rainy and dry season. The most reliable means of accessing the agrarian suburb is with the use of motorcycles.
During the rainy season, the road usually gets so muddy, slippery and impassable, exacerbated by flood threatening to severe the only bridge linking the community. Populated by farmers, it has been a herculean task to get to their farms.
To worsen their plight, every rain comes with consequences as men of the underworld take advantage of it to unleash terror on them, breaking into their shops and homes to steal. Cases abound of where shop owners would defy the rain and risk their lives to sleep in their kiosks or raise the alarm when they suspect anything.
To add to their pains to their sorrow, they are exposed to different health and environmental hazards as the vicinity oozes due to the flood that dumps dirt from pit toilets and open defecation that contaminates their only source of water.
During the dry season, everywhere is usually covered with dust and regardless of how protective one tries to be by constantly closing windows and doors. This problem has made so many residents grudgingly relocate to other areas. The only natural resource in the community is sand for building. Lots of trucks come in to take sand thereby worsening the already erosion-ravaged road.
But one big pill residents of the community is finding very hard to swallow is acute water shortage. Every morning, women and children carry buckets and gallons in search of clean water before going to school or work.
Even the schools, both private and public are not worthy to be called citadels of learning because of their poor condition. Many of them do not have enough classrooms and qualified teachers. Investigations reveal that the school management contributes to the decay by not encouraging teachers with good welfare package. Teachers receive as low as N10, 000 to N15, 000 as monthly salary and it hardly comes regularly.
Besides those who dug boreholes at an exorbitant rate of N500,000 to N1,000,000, the rest are at the mercy of one water vendor who for now has the monopoly to supply water to the rest. Those who subscribe to it pay a monthly fee of N1,000 per compound, regardless of the number of times it runs. In most cases, residents would stay for a month or two without water. It is one crisis seriously affecting businesses like restaurant and poultry owners, including the peasant farmers.
When there is power supply, a bucket of water is sold for N10 but if there is no supply; residents buy it higher than N10. Alternatively, they contract people who sell water in trucks, popularly called Mai Ruwa. They sell 20-litre gallons of water for N30 and a full truck of 10 gallons is sold for N300.
Thomas Okoye, a resident, lamented that he is not finding the problem funny and is seriously considering relocating to a better place.
“We are in need of help. We can no longer continue to endure this water scarcity and epileptic power supply in this community. Even the roads are bad. This road leads to both Efab, Santos and Sunnyvale Estates, you see big men and women driving through this road and spreading dust without qualms.
“We are not asking them to repair the road; they should use their connections and contacts to draw government’s attention to our plight. We need functional boreholes. For the past three months, our transformers have gone bad, electricity is rationed which means that it is one day on and the next day off,” he lamented.
A poultry owner, Musa Daudu, said he spends a fortune buying water to feed his birds numbering over a thousand.
“If you are into poultry business, you will understand the importance of water. As the birds eat, so they drink water and without water, they may die. We really need free flow of water. Whatever quantity we get, we micro-manage. We call on the FCT authority to come to our rescue,” he appealed.
A water supplier who preferred anonymity admitted that residents have not enjoyed constant water supply but attributed the problem to poor power supply, broken pipes and wanton wastage.
“The problem is not entirely ours. If you look around, you will see broken pipes. Residents use their cars to break the pipes. I do not blame most of them because the rains unearthed the pipes. Another problem is light. How much fuel will a person buy to pump water for such a large number? We need constant power supply.
“In addition, most residents waste water a lot. Even when their tanks full, they do not put it off. At times, we move from house to house to inspect and urge them to turn off their taps. Regardless, we will continue to supply water as at when due,” he said.
Source: Sun News