Gba­galape: A com­mu­nity liv­ing on the edge

Daily Trust - - ASO CHRONICLE -

Con­tin­ued from pre­vi­ous page move would sub­ject res­i­dents to hard­ship as they would be left with only Kabayi road, which is also in de­plorable state.

“As the Phase 4 road is now, it can cut off at any time and if peo­ple are pass­ing on it at the time there will be loss of lives,” he ex­plained.

The com­mu­nity’s sec­re­tary, Ali Zubairu, said more than six com­mu­ni­ties could be cut off should the road re­main unat­tended to.

Zubairu who said the road has been a challenge to the res­i­dents for more than 10 years, added that neigh­bour­ing farm­ing com­mu­ni­ties would be un­able to take their goods to the mar­ket when it rained.

He said preg­nant women, es­pe­cially those on re­fer­ral to other hos­pi­tals, were among those mostly af­fected by the poor state of the roads. As such, many res­i­dents re­sort to ac­cess­ing the com­mu­nity af­ter parking their ve­hi­cles at neigh­bour­ing com­mu­ni­ties, said a res­i­dent, Abe­jeshi Daniel, who was seen by his car. He said af­ter parking his ve­hi­cle, he usu­ally rode on mo­tor­cy­cles or trekked to his house.

Daniel, who has been stay­ing in the com­mu­nity for more than three years, said the road could be wa­ter­logged for more than three days af­ter a heavy down­pour, ad­ding that his ex­pe­ri­ence ply­ing the road had al­ways been un­pleas­ant.

“Peo­ple fall but I have not fallen be­cause I nor­mally tell the okada rider to stop and I will just wade through. I pre­fer my clothes to be dirty than for us to crash and be in­jured,” he added.

Daniel said mo­tor­cy­clists rarely plied the road dur­ing the rainy sea­son and the few that did charged ex­or­bi­tant fares for the 15 min­utes ride to the com­mu­nity.

“It is dif­fi­cult to come to Gba­galape. A mo­tor­cy­clist charges be­tween N150 and N200 and if you can’t af­ford it, then you have to trek,” he said.

A mo­tor­cy­clist who iden­ti­fied him­self as Ayuba said he had fallen more than three times on the road ad­ding that if pos­si­ble he would charge pas­sen­gers more than N200.

Hik­parake Jerome, an­other res­i­dent, said ev­ery­body in the com­mu­nity lived in fear.

“I am still stay­ing here be­cause I do not have an op­tion,” he said.

Some teenagers were seen putting stones on some bad por­tions of the road from the Nyanya axis. One of them, Barn­abas Gowon, 15, said they have been on the road for more than two years.

He said with their ef­fort and the com­mu­nal sup­port, the road has been a bit pass­able.

“If an­other rain fall mo­tor or okada no go pass,” the 15-yearold said in pid­gin English.

An­other boy work­ing on the road, Peter David, said a drainage con­structed about two years ago was al­ready washed away, ad­ding that the road would need huge gov­ern­ment in­ter­ven­tion.

Rabo, the com­mu­nity head, said the road would have been washed away by the rain but for the in­ter­ven­tion of the youths.

“It is those boys that try to put stones so that ve­hi­cles can pass.

“If we con­trib­ute and buy gravel and cement rain will still wash it away if drainage is not con­structed,” he said, lament­ing that the con­di­tion of the road was be­yond what the com­mu­nity could do.

He said the road af­fects all the as­pects of the res­i­dents’ lives.

Rabo ex­plained that doc­tors and mid­wives at the com­mu­nity’s pri­mary health­care cen­tre stayed in neigh­bour­ing com­mu­ni­ties as such it was usu­ally dif­fi­cult for them to come to Gba­galape.

“I re­mem­ber the mid­wives, if it rained, they will not come to work be­cause of the road and okada can’t use the road to get here ei­ther,” he said.

He also said some of the teach­ers in the gov­ern­ment school in the com­mu­nity who are liv­ing out­side the com­mu­nity, stayed away from school due to the road.

Speak­ing on the state of education in the com­mu­nity, the com­mu­nity head said though the coun­cil au­thor­i­ties had ap­proved the con­struc­tion of a sec­ondary school, it was yet to be con­structed.

“The con­trac­tor came and said we should show him land to build the school which we did. I showed them our farm­land but they said the lay­out has not been im­ple­mented.

Rabo said stu­dents of the ju­nior sec­ondary school were squat­ting with pri­mary school pupils in over­crowded class­rooms while se­nior sec­ondary school stu­dents trekked long dis­tance to at­tend school in Nyanya and other com­mu­ni­ties.

He said for three years now, the res­i­dents have been await­ing for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the lay­out.

De­spite the hur­dles, how­ever the com­mu­nity is densely pop­u­lated with more than seven eth­nic heads. Rent for a one bed­room flat is be­tween N170,000 and N200, 000 per an­num.

Gba­galape com­mu­nity has con­tin­ued its strug­gle for sur­vival as the res­i­dents do all within their power to en­sure their daily needs are met de­spite the sit­u­a­tion they are in. But un­less gov­ern­ment comes to their aid by pro­vid­ing those ba­sic ameni­ties, es­pe­cially road, light, health care and water, life will still be tough for them.

Stu­dents of Ju­nior Sec­ondary School Gba­galape play dur­ing break time

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