Kunyami, a suburb of the Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja, is just 15 minutes’ drive to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja and 25 minutes’ drive into the Abuja city. The community with about 100,000 inhabitants incidentally is in the local government council that houses the Nigerian president, the parliament, the judiciary and all of the ministers – the Abuja Municipal Area Council. Even with its proximity to the decision makers, it is just as deprived as so many other local communities in the FCT and in the states across the country. Social amenities like good paved roads, clean water, hospital, toilet facilities, sanitation facilities, drainages, and more are a luxury in this community that sits on a lush green and fertile land. Not even the social interventions by the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development (the ministry coordinates all humanitarian affairs in Nigeria), has reached this community – not even the COVID-19 lockdown palliatives that the Federal Government claimed it distributed to millions of vulnerable Nigerians wih billios of naira budgted. The community has continued to live in deprivation and to be remembered only during electioneering campaigns when they woiulod have promises thrown their way by selfish politicians. Promises that won’t be kept. “We are crying out. Let government help us so that we can benefit from government too” said Mr. Jonah Barde, a cabinet member in the village lead. “During campaign, the politicians come here. We vote here. You know politics, sometimes, they will promise but is promise after promise. When we turn up for the campaign, when they achieve what they want, they will not show up again unless during campaign again” Mr. Barde said. It is that time again the politicians are calling on the community.
Even the current Chairman, the AMAC Chairman, Mr. Abdullahi Adamu Candido was their guest some three years ago.
“The current AMAC Chairman donated three classrooms to our community school but he didn’t complete any. We went to him on three sperate occasions (The community Chief, the Headmaster of the Primary School. And I), but we were denied access to see the Chairman” Barde, obviously frustrated said.
He said the community is completely neglected. “We don’t have modern road. We maintain the community access road ourselves by tilling with hoes to make it a bit accessible. “Towards the cessation of rainfall, we come out enmass to repair the road. And when the rains start again, we face the challenges again.”
The semblance of modern amenities in this community – a two block classrooms and a borehole) was donated by a businessman philanthropist Chief Nwara, who is developing an estate not too far from the community.
“We cried out to Chief Nwara because he has been trying for us. He built two class rooms for us in the primary. And he also donated borehole for us. You can see it” he said. The borehole is located in the chief palace but it wasn’t functional at the time we visited. The only borehole that was functional at the time was a commercial borehole for those who can afford. For a community walloping in poverty, just a few could afford to buy thus, the majority relied on a nearly dirty stream for major source of water for drinking, washing and other house chores. With open defecation a commonplace in Kunyami, the contamination in the stream can be imagined. This leaves in its wake – cholera and other communicable diseases. Yet, there is not even a community healthcare facility for the locals.
“Some of our women do go to Sauka, and even that is a private hospital. And some do go to Gwagwalada., some 35 kilometer away for medical attention. We deserve a primary healthcare clinic. The Sauka hospital is far. And you know we are all Farmers here. At times, when some of our women are in labour and no means to rush them to the hospital on time, we do lose them. That is why we are crying to government to help us secure the lives of our pregnant women by providing a hospital in the community. We want the government to provide hospital facilitate for us so that it will be easy for us and our women. So that we will not keep losing our women along the labour line” he lamented.
“We also don’t have toilet facilities here. Resident defecate in the bush most time. You know to build toilet is not easy. It is very expensive. Our pit toilets gets full in no time thereby polluting the air and the environment as a whole” he said.
The resultant effect is cholera. “we do experience cholera here. That is why we are crying out to the government to provide us with public toilet facilities and all the needed facilitaties to avoid all these cholera and other diseases.”
The Kunyami community leader, Chief Silas Agoyi said they have lost children to cholera. Recently “we lost one boy due to cholera disease. He was purging – cholera. We rushed him to the far hospital. But we lost him. So, those are the challenges we are facing.”
“We have problems in this village. We don’t have hospital. We don’t have good road. The community members suffer to repair the road themselves. We don’t have secondary school. Only one primary school that is available. Our children go as far as Lugbe, Gusape or Airport to have access to Secondary school” Chief Agoyi further explained.
The water here is not good. Even the one that Chief Nwara (a philanthropist) did is not good enough. People fetch water from the stream – Uba stream. Primary School pupils and members of the community go to the village stream to take their bath” h further stated.
He has other communities under his watch and they are just as deprived. “The community under my watch are: Anguwan Basa, Anguwan Golo, Anguwan Iyah, Anguwan Mike, Anguwan Monday, Anguwan Sabo. All six villages are reeling in poverty and neglect” he said.
Will government ever come to their aid? Another round of election is here. They may just still be used and dumped.