ASO CHRON­I­CLES When corps mem­ber met Yim­itu IDPs wa­ter need

Daily Trust - - ASO CHRONICLE - By Olayemi John-Mensah, Eseohe Eb­hota & Zeenat Ab­du­lazeez

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.

PHOTO: Onyeakachukwu Obi

Juliet Chine­merem Ugwu do­nates a bore­hole to Yim­itu com­mu­nity

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