Upgrade of Kaduna Airport brings development to Gwazaye
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