Up­grade of Kaduna Air­port brings de­vel­op­ment to Gwazaye

Weekly Trust - - Around & About - Chris­tiana T. Alabi, Kaduna Satur­day, Fe­bru­ary 11, 2017

Hope has come alive for the peo­ple of Gwazaye com­mu­nity as Kaduna Air­port gets set for Abuja di­ver­sion. Gwazaye is a com­mu­nity sit­u­ated near the Kaduna Air­port in Afaka ward, Igabi Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Area (LGA) of Kaduna State. The fed­eral gov­ern­ment of Nige­ria had ear­lier an­nounced the Abuja air­port clo­sure to give room for com­pre­hen­sive work on its ter­mi­nal, which had for over two decades been due for up­grade. As a re­sult of the up­grade, the Kaduna In­ter­na­tional Air­port, which is to serve as an al­ter­na­tive air­port and the sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties, are be­gin­ning to wear a new look.

Also, the com­mu­ni­ties, one of which is Gwazaye, are warm­ing up to key into the de­vel­op­ment grad­u­ally com­ing to their area. How­ever, Gwazaye whose ex­is­tence pre­cedes the es­tab­lish­ment of the air­port lacks some social ameni­ties, in­clud­ing schools, hos­pi­tals and wa­ter among oth­ers. Our reporter who vis­ited the com­mu­nity gath­ered that there is only one gov­ern­ment pri­mary school in the com­mu­nity, as a re­sult of which some chil­dren, es­pe­cially those whose par­ents are poor, can­not fur­ther their ed­u­ca­tion.

It was also gath­ered that there are 48 other vil­lages sur­round­ing the air­port but all ex­ist­ing with­out a sin­gle health care fa­cil­ity. Be that as it may, new busi­nesses are spring­ing up while al­ready ex­ist­ing ones are re­ceiv­ing a boost with the in­flux of more peo­ple into the com­mu­nity as a re­sult of the on-go­ing up­grade of the Kaduna air­port.

learnt that some res­i­dents of the com­mu­nity, in­clud­ing youths and women have in one way or the other been en­gaged in the on-go­ing air­port up­grade. Both young and old in Gwazaye are singing praise of the de­vel­op­ment that has greeted their com­mu­nity and tak­ing ad­van­tage of the op­por­tu­nity which they see as a ris­ing tide.

An elec­tri­cal en­gi­neer, Ab­dul­razak Mo­hammed said that the de­vel­op­ment will bring progress to the en­tire com­mu­nity and its in­hab­i­tants. “The com­ing of vis­i­tors to the air­port will open the com­mu­nity up to in­vestors to do busi­ness while res­i­dents too will get em­ploy­ment in one way or the other. Those who have ac­quired skills will be pa­tron­ized, our lands will be­gin to sell, and peo­ple will be­gin to erect build­ings which will cre­ate job for ma­sons, builders, elec­tri­cians and plumbers among oth­ers. The en­tire com­mu­nity will also wear a new look since our roads are un­der­go­ing re­pairs,” he said.

Even though de­vel­op­ment as a re­sult of the up­scale of ac­tiv­i­ties at the air­port, Mo­hammed lamented the ab­sence of a sec­ondary school, health cen­tre and a des­ig­nated place for a mar­ket in the area. “We don’t have any gov­ern­ment hos­pi­tal in this area. We also lack ac­cess to pipe borne wa­ter. We rely on well wa­ter be­cause the bore­holes dug for us by some wealthy Nige­ri­ans are in bad con­di­tion.”

An­other res­i­dent, Kamilu Kabiru who does vul­can­iz­ing and at the same time sells sug­ar­cane, ex­plained how his busi­ness is be­gin­ning to ex­pe­ri­ence a new twist; ex­press­ing op­ti­mism that life will be­come bet­ter for him and his fam­ily by the time in­ter­na­tional flights be­gin to come in.

“Be­fore now, I get two to three cus­tomers in a day to patch or in­flate their tyres, but now with the on-go­ing up­scale, I get more than ten cus­tomers on a daily ba­sis; in fact ve­hi­cles now queue for me to at­tend to them and as they are wait­ing, some are buying to keep them­selves busy,” he noted.

In an in­ter­ac­tion with the women leader of Gwazaye, Mrs. Pa­tri­cia Gyet ap­plauded the de­ci­sion to up­grade the Kaduna air­port, say­ing, the ges­ture means noth­ing but de­vel­op­ment to the com­mu­nity. Madam Pa­tri­cia who runs a restau­rant in the com­mu­nity said, “We have high ex­pec­ta­tions that the sta­tus of our peo­ple will change for the bet­ter with this de­vel­op­ment that has come to us. We have a lot of women do­ing noth­ing, so if such women can get even clean­ing work, they will be glad. We also have women who are grad­u­ates but don’t have any­thing do­ing; so we be­lieve new busi­nesses will spring up with this de­vel­op­ment while ex­ist­ing ones will get a boost be­cause we will have more peo­ple pass­ing through our com­mu­nity to the air­port, more peo­ple will also come to re­side in our com­mu­nity and that will mean more cus­tomers for peo­ple do­ing busi­ness,” she said.

Com­ment­ing on her restau­rant busi­ness, Mrs. Pa­tri­cia said, “be­fore now, I hardly sell one mea­sure of rice in a day, but with the com­ing of the labour­ers who are work­ing in the air­port, things have changed as I now sell up to four mea­sures daily. So, things are al­ready chang­ing and we are mov­ing with the tide.” She also en­cour­aged other women to take ad­van­tage of the de­vel­op­ment to bet­ter their lives.

Mrs. Gyet how­ever de­cried the large num­ber of ed­u­cated but job­less youths in the com­mu­nity, ad­vis­ing that there is ur­gent need to get them en­gaged so that they don’t fall into wrong hands. She also lamented the lack of health cen­tres in the com­mu­nity and its en­vi­rons, say­ing de­lay caused by trav­el­ling far to ac­cess health care has claimed lives of women and chil­dren in the com­mu­nity. “In the 17 years that I have lived in this com­mu­nity, more than 10 women have died dur­ing child birth, so also chil­dren. So gov­ern­ment should please come to our aid be­cause health is wealth,” she pleaded.

Madam Gyet made known that 20 women in Gwazaye have been se­lected to sweep road sides and they will start work by Fe­bru­ary. “Our youths too have started ap­ply­ing for jobs with the air­crafts,” she added.

Ac­cord­ing to the vil­lage head of Gwazaye, Al­haji Shuaibu Umar Ladan, the com­mu­nity has been in ex­is­tence long be­fore the air­port was es­tab­lished, not­ing that the air­port was built on their farm lands. “My grand­fa­ther was born in Gwazaye, so also my fa­ther and my­self. My fa­ther is still alive and he is 115 years old. From my child­hood to the time I got mar­ried, there were only four houses in the en­tire com­mu­nity, but to­day the houses here are very many.

“The peo­ple of the com­mu­nity are pre­dom­i­nantly farm­ers and the com­mu­nity got its name ‘Gwazaye’ from a farm pro­duce ‘Co­coa yam’ called ‘Gwaza’ in Hausa lan­guage. Gwaza was planted in large quan­tity in the com­mu­nity in the past and the peo­ple usu­ally cook it overnight be­fore con­sump­tion. But to­day, the farm­ers plant all forms of crops, in­clud­ing maize, mil­let, beans and cas­sava among oth­ers,” he ex­plained.

The vil­lage head ex­pressed hap­pi­ness over the de­vel­op­ment com­ing to his com­mu­nity as a re­sult of the on-go­ing air­port up­scale, say­ing that the com­mu­nity in the next few years will look like a city. He men­tioned that some youths in the com­mu­nity are al­ready ben­e­fit­ting from the work go­ing on in the air­port as they are en­gaged in me­nial jobs. He how­ever ap­pealed that more youths be given per­ma­nent gov­ern­ment work so they don’t re­main idle.

“We are peace lov­ing peo­ple and we ap­peal to the gov­ern­ment to help us with at least one sec­ondary school be­cause the lack of it has re­duced the level of ed­u­ca­tion of our peo­ple. Due to lack of money to spon­sor chil­dren to travel kilo­me­ters on a daily ba­sis, so many chil­dren don’t go to school. Also, due to lack of hos­pi­tals or health cen­tres, we suf­fer to trans­port our preg­nant women to Kawo Gen­eral hos­pi­tal when they are in labour. The dis­tance from Gwazaye to Kawo is about 17kilo­me­tres,” he said, adding that his peo­ple are com­mit­ted to­wards sup­port­ing the present ad­min­is­tra­tion.

A view of Gwazaye com­mu­nity Shehu K. Goro

A res­i­dent of Gwazaye, Ab­dul­razak Mo­hammed

The Women leader of Gwazaye, Mrs. Gyet

Kamilu Kabiru is also a res­i­dent

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