Gbagalape: A community living on the edge
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