ASO CHRON­I­CLE

Daily Trust - - ASO CHRONICLE - By Taiwo Adeniyi, Olayemi John-Mensah, Zeenat Ab­du­lazeez & Seun Adeuyi

The com­mu­nity is re­plete with houses made from zinc and wood ma­te­ri­als. Only the chief’s house, mosque, school and few houses are built from bricks. Lo­cal wells serve as the main source of wa­ter while school­ing takes chil­dren kilo­me­tres away on a de­plorable road.

Elec­tric­ity sup­ply at the run­down camp is a lux­ury though elec­tric poles and ca­bles present a false im­pres­sion of the com­mu­nity. The ca­bles and poles were in­stalled about seven months ago, but res­i­dents still use flash­lights and lo­cal lamps.

There are three bore­holes in the com­mu­nity, but all have packed up and the seg­re­gated res­i­dents have to drink well wa­ter.

The com­mu­nity’s school has been man­aged with­out gov­ern­ment in­ter­ven­tion for over three years, and its classes stop at pri­mary four.

At their present lo­ca­tion in Kar­ma­jiji, an ur­ban slum few kilo­me­tres from Abuja’s City Gate in the Abuja Mu­nic­i­pal Area Coun­cil (AMAC), their strug­gle for sur­vival in an ‘un­friendly en­vi­ron­ment’ con­tin­ues.

While the men sweat daily to put food on the ta­ble for their fam­i­lies, the women lament the tra­vails of child­birth.

With no vis­i­ble sign­post to welcome visi­tors to the com­mu­nity, it is com­pletely hid­den from public view, and its sorry state seems not to be prick­ing the con­sciences of the su­per-rich Abuja res­i­dents.

Though not far from the Na­tional Park, it is hard to imag­ine that a large num­ber of phys­i­cally chal­lenged peo­ple live in their se­cluded world in one cor­ner of the op­u­lent city.

The chief of the phys­i­cally chal­lenged peo­ple, Al­haji Suleiman Katsina, said that for over eight years, they have been left in the com­mu­nity to fend for them­selves.

Al­haji Katsina, who is also the leader of the phys­i­cally chal­lenged peo­ple in the en­tire Fed­eral Cap­i­tal Ter­ri­tory (FCT), said that while they waited on gov­ern­ment to ful­fill its prom­ise of re­lo­cat­ing them to a per­ma­nent place in Gwag­wal­ada Area Coun­cil, some of them de­pend on able-bod­ied rel­a­tives and friends to sur­vive. Oth­ers, he said, did me­nial jobs or petty trad­ing, selling sta­tion­ar­ies on tri­cy­cles.

For eight years, Ahmed Abubakar, another phys­i­cally chal­lenged, has been at the dis­abled colony. The sec­ondary school cer­tifi­cate holder said he ‘man­ages’ at the com­mu­nity be­cause he had nowhere else to go.

He fends for his aged mother from

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