Though Abuja is said to be the fastest growing capital city in the world with people from all Africa and beyond trooping in to partake in the overall activities shaping the city, but this cannot be said of Kugbobokun a village located near Kubwa satellite town of the city. A’isha Biola Raji reports.
Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory is no doubt a beautiful place, not only in Nigeria but in West Africa and Africa at large. The well planned city can boast of beautiful scenery; green areas and other beautiful edifice.
Being the city of power, Nigerians from all over the country throng into the city scrambling for whatever they can get.
It won’t beat one’s imagination that, before Abuja became capital city, some indigenous people have been in existence in the now flowing town.
Considering the history of how Abuja was carved out of the name of man who was known as Abubakar, who was the brother of Sulaiman from Suleja, a prominent town in Niger state.
Since Abuja became the capital city of Nigeria, indigenous occupants have continued to remain in satellite towns and in some cases; some have been made to move further into the suburb in order to pave way for development.
One of such satellite towns is Kubwa in Bwari Area Council. It would however not be news that a lot of people, who know Kubwa and frequent the town, would not even realise there is a settlement called Rugbobokun; just few meters away from Kubwa.
Rugbobokun can be described as a man, sitting under cherry tree and still crying of hunger.
It is a settlement that lacks all the social amenities one can think of, water, electricity, and most importantly, the only major road leading to the community is in a sorry state. The community can only boast of one primary school being funded by Universal Basic Education (UBE).
The sorry state of Kugbobokun when it comes to development is what have called the attention of Centre for Family Health Initiative (CFHI) to frequently pay visit to its inhabitants and try to change their orientation, most especially as it concerns education.
Despite the difficulty encountered, the centre persistently pay visit to this community. As a Non-Governmental Organisation, it organised recently, child rights promotion at the community.
Under the theme, ‘Protecting Children is everyone’s business, the NGO in collaboration with NSCDC (Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corp) and Nigerian Police Force charged parents in the community to provide basic needs for their children giving priority to education.
Moreover, the villagers were made to understand with the help of an interpreter the content of the child right Act which centres on all forms of child abuse; which include denial of child from shelter, food and basic education.
Inaugurating child protection committee in the community, the Project Officer of the NGO, Ms Omoera Victoria said the aim of the organisation is to help communities rediscover themselves in the area of self-help and that since inception; the NGO has been supporting over 4000 children across Abuja and Nasarawa state.
Though the community was advised to work hard and train their children up to University level, some of the villagers who spoke with Peoples Daily reporter, said they can only achieve this if government can remember them by providing them with necessary amenities especially good road network.
However, against all the odds; bad road, lack of potable water and electricity, some teachers posted to the school still strive to make it there to teach the children.
One of such teachers is Ms Esther Medugu who based on commitment even pay from her pocket, school fees for indigent junior secondary school students to ensure that their educational pursuit was not disturbed.
It would take the reader, a visit to Kugbobokun before they can understand what a journey it is from Bhiazin where Medugu lives to Kugbobokun. The slippery, sloppy nature of the road and the stream that runs across without bridge is better imagined than seen.
This natural national award winner, an icon in her capacity who has been plying the difficult road to impart knowledge on children is however not deterred by language barrier or the poor condition under which she works.
She said what keeps her going is commitment and empathy, “A lot of time, we walk from the other village where we live in order to make it to Kugbobokun. “I have been doing this for three years. “When I got here, the children could not read, write or speak English; I had to look for an interpreter but now, they can communicate fairly well in English and I can now communicate with them.
Pleading to the local government leadership, she said the major challenge they are facing is road. “Sometimes, I get information to go back from across the river as it sometimes overflows and since there is no bridge, crossing it can sometimes be difficult.”
According to Jibrin Baba Angulu, community representative, he commended CFHI for bringing awareness into their community. He said, “I feel happy about the initiative. “I have learnt a lot; that we should avoid sending our children to sell groundnut.”
Angulu however has a message for politicians. “Government should remember there are human beings here, they should take care of us.”
The community according to Angulu has not witnessed such awareness program. “Before now, we did not know what child abuse is all about, if it happened, we did not know the implication but with this enlightenment program, a lot of us have realised the dangers facing our children and their future if we do not change some of our lifestyle,” he said.
He begged government to consider their plight and not to only visit them during election campaigns. He said, “Let government know that we have so much challenges, any city you look at must have been a village before it developed into a city. “We also crave such development. “We only get to see them during campaign that is when they realise we exist. “We only know chairmanship candidates for election but don’t get to see them again after they have won”.
He especially called on the Chairman of Bwari Area Council to come to their aid. “We need the Chairman to come and see what we are going through, the only road leading to our village is bad, let him come and see for himself.
“Whenever the stream water is full, there is no movement; sometimes, it can take three days to go down as there is no bridge. We cultivate yam but a lot of time, we don’t get to transport our produce to market due to the condition of the only road leading to our village. We do not even have electric pole not to mention electricity, no water; cattle drink water in the morning to remain for us in the evening,” Angulu lamented.
He said since before independence, the community has remained the same without any visible development. “I was born in 1952 and this community have remained like this. “We have been participating in elections but have no dividend of democracy as it is,” he complained.
Speaking on how the villagers received the message, Pastor Musa Ishaya, Pastor of Anglican Church described the outreach by CFHI as simple technique that will bring overhaul into the lives of the villagers.
Describing what he understood by child abuse, he said “Child abuse is giving child chores that are above his/her capacity which include using them as house helps.” He encouraged parents to train their children so they can bring succour to Kugbobokun. “One day, we will have good water to drink because these children will bring development to the community,” he maintained.
Patience Iliya, mother of two said, “We have been told to take care of our children and not to let them wander about in the night as it is dangerous for them especially girl child. “My children are in school and from what I’ve heard today, I will make sure they are well educated so I can also benefit.”