Fred Itua and Fred Ezeh
Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT), means different things to different folks. For some, it has semblance of a decent capital city as in other parts of the world. For another, Abuja is like a padded bra. It looks glorious on the surface, but stinks beneath it. For rural dwellers or residents of satellite towns, Abuja is a city for the rich.
These arguments have also resulted in constant questioning of the neglect of infrastructure in satellite towns. In Kubwa for instance, Abuja’s biggest satellite town, many residents believe that the infrastructure have “technically” collapsed.
There are no good roads, streetlights to lit up dark spots at night, traffic lights, security, regular power supply, water among others. Nyanya and other adjoining towns suffer the same fate. There is obviously no presence of government in these places in terms of security and basic infrastructure. Residents are left to cater for themselves.
The roads are in bad condition public schools are overcrowded, epileptic electricity services, high rate of crime, hooliganism and cultism among others. There is huge population shift to the communities without corresponding infrastructural expansion. Aside, some portions of Abuja-Keffi Expressway that receive periodic attention from Federal Government agency, roads in Nyanya and environs have become dead traps.
Residents of Jikwoyi, Kurudu and other large communities including Karshi, have also been forced to provide security, water, power and other basic amenities for themselves due to failure of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to do that.
A civil servant, Wilberforce Eke, who resides in Orozo, concluded that FCTA officials have gone on “official slumber” and have abandoned them: “It is very difficult to drive from Nyanya to Orozo now because of bad road. Some portions of the road have failed completely. There are deep holes in virtually every metre of the road and no one is doing anything about it.
“It is unfortunate that individuals have to gather resources sometimes to do temporary repair of the road. That is an indictment on the government. In addition to that, people are being robbed daily on same road particularly at night hours in spite of police check points on the road.”
Similarly, Victoria Akaze, who resides in Jikwoyi Phase 2, described the entire location as an “inhabitable slum” due to total absence of basic facilities for human living: “I took out time recently to move round Jikwoyi phases 1, 2, 3 and 4, and it was a pathetic situation. There was no presence of government there. There was no water, access road and other basic amenities for better human living.
“The little ones provided decades ago have been overstretched due to unprecedented influx of people to the location. Regrettably, nothing is being done to improve the peoples’ standard of living.” She appealed to FCTA and Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) to stop exploiting the masses through multiple tax and levy, and provide basic amenities for the people to encourage them pay tax and other levies.
The FCTA has its own alibi for failing to meet the growing demands of residents. Media aide to the Minister of State, FCT, Mr Austin Elemue, said the paucity of funds was a major setback for the administration. The minister is in charge of the area councils, where many abandoned satellite towns are located:
“The Satellite Towns Development Department (STDD) was created as an interventionist agency to fill in the gaps in the area councils especially in the provisions of infrastructure in satellite towns and area councils. However, some of the abandoned projects as observed don’t amount to total failure on the part of FCTA, but basically due to paucity of funds. To me, the agency has done well within the available resources, but it can be better.
“Nevertheless, President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the FCTA and its agencies to embark on completion of all abandoned and on going projects in the territory. I can assure you that residents of the territory will soon witness significant improvement in the provision of roads in areas like Lugbe, Kubwa and Nyanya.”