ASO CHRONICLES When corps member met Yimitu IDPs water need
Yimitu is a community under Waru Ward in the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) but its closeness to the seat of power and Nigeria’s most opulent city has not helped its case. The community lacks basic amenities. To compound the community’s problems, a lot of IDPs from the North East have taken refuge in the village.
Recently, Aso Chronicle witnessed the commissioning of a water project in the community and the residents were overwhelmed with joy.
Juliet Ugwu, a corps member currently serving with the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing in Abuja located the community where some Internally Displayed Persons (IDPs) reside and decided to tackle one of their needs.
Miss Ugwu, a graduate of Geology and Mining from Enugu State University while speaking to our reporters during the commissioning of the water project, said her passion for helping the less privileged in the society was what pushed her to locate Yimitu.
“When I started serving here in Abuja, I told myself that I cannot just come and go after one year without touching lives. So, I decided to do my best by identifying a place that has certain needs. In this community, there is no school or health centre, which makes the people go to the nearest village for treatment and school.
“They also lack electricity and potable water. So, I embarked on the water project. This is because the IDPs go through a lot of problems and having to buy water all the time will be a great problem for people who have been displaced. So I picked on the area of water and with the help of my sponsors, I was able to provide them with this borehole,” she said.
She also said the only source of water in the community is a private borehole which sells a 25-liter jerry can for N30, which is quite expensive for them.
“How many liters do you expect a nursing mother to buy? Or even a pregnant woman? Or a father that has no job that will fetch him money? So, because of that, I had to make the effort to provide water for them,” she added.
Ugwu warmed herself into the hearts of the obviously happy residents when the Village Head, Chief Dauda Hassan, gave her the go ahead when she made her intention known and the chief saw the sincerity and passion in her.
“The villagers are very accommodating. They gave the IDPs where to stay and even allowed them to farm. Some of them are into farming while some are into petty trading. Most of them have nothing to do, and to get their cooperation and trust, I went through the chief. I also visited the IDPs chairman who took me round the camp and also introduced me to the women leader and they all gave me their support,” she said.
The project was without challenges as she sometimes had to trek long distances to get to the village and other times had to beg and even cry when she thought of their plight. “At times, I would even tell God that I was tired but one thing I got to know was that every time I said I was tired, God would always give me the reassurance that he was the one who gave me this vision and the passion to help this people.”
Miss Ugwu further said when she first went to the community, it was the pitiful sight of the numerous IDPs that moved her to at least assist in ameliorating their plight.
She said she could imagine how mentally stressed the IDPs were, having been dislodged from their homestead, and providing water for a community where they were camping was the least she could do.
“Whenever I look at them I tell myself that these IDPs are fellow human beings like us. Most of us sleep in beds at night and wake up the next morning without knowing that someone else slept under canopies and in shanties. Hence I decided to contribute my little.”
The village head, Chief Hassan, lauded the effort of the corps member, saying that for a young woman to remember them by doing this kind of project was commendable.
He said they have been suffering in the community in silence and it was a really good feeling for someone to provide water for them.
There was no water here, we don’t have good road, there is no light, school and healthcare center. We have been asking for help from the government but no solution. Thank God a corps member has come to help us, we thank her and still hope that the government will remember us one day. We also thank the media (Daily Trust) for their publication through which people got to know that this community exists.”
A resident of the community, Sarah Matthew, who is an IDP from Gwoza, Borno State, thanked the corps member for her gesture towards them. Speaking in Hausa, she expressed her happiness about the borehole that was provided for them.
“The sinking of this borehole has brought an end to our hardship. We would not have to trek far again to the stream to fetch water for our household chores,” she said.
She however added that the government should provide more basic amenities for them such as schools, good roads, and hospitals. “We also need drugs because anytime we are sick we have to go far for treatment but if there’s a health centre here, that would ease our movement,” she appealed.
Christiana Ibrahim, another IDP concurred with Matthew, adding “we are displaced persons here and we are very grateful to the corps member for what she has done. Before she sunk the borehole, we had a lot of challenges getting water, one of which was buying water to do our household chores.”
“Sometimes, we trek to the stream especially now that it is rainy season. And the water is usually very dirty because that is where everyone in this community fetches water from. Sometimes, when we use it to bath our children, it gives them rashes. As she came, she asked us what our pressing need was and we told her we didn’t have water, light or even hospital. She tried her best to give us this borehole which we hope would last for us.”
“The school we have here was built for us by an organization known as Justice Development Peace Commission (JDPC) but there are no blackboards, books, uniforms, desks or even shoes for our children,” she said.
Further findings by Aso Chronicle revealed that there was no school in the community as children who were of school age, were seen playing around.
Juliet Chinemerem Ugwu donates a borehole to Yimitu community