Following a PREMIUM TIMES report published last year, the Federal Capital Territory Community and Social Development Project (FCT/CSDP) has implemented some projects in some abandoned Abuja communities.
The August 2019 report showed the deplorable state of the communities, and showed they lacked basic amenities despite being in Nigeria’s capital city.
Some of the communities visited last year are Kutara, Gommani, Dogo Ruwa, and Tunga Sarki.
The are mostly home to indigenous Abuja people, who originally had settled in the city before it became Nigeria’s national capital decades ago.
Identified as uncompleted were the primary healthcare centre (PHC) in Gomani, manual borehole, and road to Tunga Sarki, and non-functional speedboat in Kutatra community.
But about a year after, authorities have provided some some remedial actions.
The general manager, FCT/CSDP, Shuaibu Adamu, highlighted the successes of some of the projects in the communities and explained how project decisions are taken.
“The FCT area councils have to give us a recommendation letter for the community we want to cite a project. But, the selection of a project in a community must be in line with what the area council recommended. The community will also make available a commitment letter to show how committed they are,” he said.
So far, one speedboat, an engine, boreholes, and a PHC have been provided.
On September 11, when this reporter visited the communities to ascertain the level of development, the boreholes and PHC were ready to use.
The community raised N1 million to support the CSDP while the FCT agency funded the projects with N9 million.
“Life is better with these facilities,” a resident, Jacob Audu, said.
At the time of this visit, the primary health care centre was locked.
When asked for the reasons for locking the PHC, Mr Audu said the doctor had travelled for one month due to personal reasons.
According to him, the health centre operates except on weekends because the doctor who resides at the centre travels at weekends.
One of the boreholes constructed by CSDP needed maintenance as it was not functional. The speedboat was parked at the primary school building.
“About two months ago, FCDA constructed a borehole for us, and the senator representing FCT, Philip Aduda, donated a borehole which is powered by solar,” Ibrahim Pada, a resident of Gomani said.
“We pump and fetch in the morning then leave it to pump during the afternoon hours till evening time when we fetch again every day.”
“If the water is fetched at length without rest to pump well for about two days’ stretch, we have to leave it throughout the third day, so as to enable it to pump sufficiently then continue regulated fetching on the fourth day,” he added.
When this reporter visited Gomani in 2019, there was very little electric supply.
The community now has solar street lighting around the community, which was provided about two months ago with a total of seven solar lights were installed.
In this community, the residents lament that electricity is still not as regular as some other communities, which makes it so inconvenient when it comes to charging of phones and other rechargeable devices.
But problem lingers
There were still some abandoned projects sighted in some communities when PREMIUM TIMES visited. The projects have not been completed by the time the reporter visited on September 11.
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Neither grader, excavator nor roller have attended to the road leading to these communities.
When PREMIUM TIMES visited in 2019, the proposed new health facility started so many years ago was not completed, yet there was no real changes to that in 2020.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, there was only one primary school with dilapidated buildings in the community, with no secondary school.
Unlike Gommani and Kutara, Tunga Sarki is yet to experience any form of development.
“We had no electricity, no water supply, very bad roads, No healthcare facility as at the last time you came. Now it is over a year and we still have no electricity, not even solar light.
“No water supply, bad roads, no healthcare facility. Of which I converted my living room as a room that is presently serving as a place where the health services can be rendered,” the community head, Aliyu Musa said.
Experts wade in
Conscious efforts are being made to alleviate poverty in the abandoned communities, says a development expert, Sani Ibrahim, of ActionAid.
“Action Aid works in communities within the FCT and have done some kind of interventions,” he said.
Similarly, Action Aid works with community leaders and members to build PHCs and encourage advocacy projects.
The official responsible for rural development at the FCDA, Felix Nwankwo, did not comment on this report despite repeated requests.