Life in waterlocked Gulida is tough, residents say
“In fact the teachers hardly come to school especially when it rains heavily as the river overflows,” he said.
Awaje, who is also chairman of the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) of the school at the village, said lack of bridge across the river has also forced the students who are in junior secondary school at Yangoji to skip classes.
He said the only way to address the challenge of crossing the river using canoe was for the government to construct a bridge across the river.
He also said that 90 percent of his people were peasant farmers who grow varieties of crops such as millet, beniseed, guinea corn and soya beans, but were frustrated while trying to transport their produce to the market.
“Sometimes, some farmers go and look for middlemen in Niger and Kogi states to come and buy their crops at very cheap rates here in the village since they (farmers) do not have the money to convey their produce in large quantities across the river,” he said.
He noted that the cost of transporting farm produce to the market was high.
“So some farmers sometimes prefer to sell their crops at the farm at cheaper rates instead of stressing themselves to pay women who will convey them on their shoulders to the river bank before loading them into canoes to across the river,” he said.
The district head further complained of lack of access to potable water at the community, saying the only source of water was River Gurara which, he lamented was unhygienic and a threat to his people’s health.
“Sometimes we have cases of stooling and vomiting especially among children, which is caused by the kind of unhygienic water we drink,” he said.
He noted that the only healthcare centre the community has access to is located at Baribari village, which he said was far from Gulida and that health personnel were hardly on ground to attend to patients.
He said there were over 12 villages such as Munamaya, Gwarda, Yabami, Makama, Paikon Bassa, Tuba, Patakomi, Madani, Baribari Guriza, Shadadi and others under Gulida, but they all lack access to basic amenities.
The district head called on the management of the Universal Basic Education Board ( UBEB) on the need to establish a Junior Secondary School (JSS) at the community, saying students of the village board canoes to cross the river to Yangoji village to attend classes.
He also requested for a police outpost at the community, saying the absence of security has become another challenge facing his subjects. Whenever there was a misunderstanding between farmers and herders, he has to place a call to police outpost at Yaba to come and intervene, he added.
“And even before police come, it has to be the next day, because of the distance and deplorable state of the road linking to this village,” he said, adding that “if I am travelling out, I prefer crossing the river than plying through the bad road,”
The district head, however, noted that providing a police outpost will help checkmate cases of crime at the community.
“As the dry season sets in, there are reported cases of motorcycle snatching by hoodlums.
I believe if we can have a police outpost here it will help a lot,” he said.
When contacted, the chairman of Abaji Area Council, Alhaji Abdulrahman Ajiya, said the council has already captured some of the challenges facing the community in its budget, adding that he would channel the request for a bridge to the coordinator of the Satellite Towns Development Department ( STDD) for necessary action.
“Even before now, we are making arrangement to provide speed boats for the people of Gulida and other riverine communities to ease their movement and for them to convey their farm produce to the markets,” he said.