The terrible situation in Amanuke did not start today. It merely worsened. The community financed projects handed over to government for management…
Obinna Odogwu, Awka
Before the end of the bumpy ride, through the sorely dilapidated, slippery Isuaniocha/Urum/Amanuke/Ugbene road, lie Amanuke community in Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra State. Leftward on the same decrepit road from Amanuke axis leads to the council’s headquarters in Achalla community.
Amanuke, which is a stone throw to the state’s seat of power in Awka, lacks basic amenities like functional healthcare facilities, tarred road, electricity supply, pipe borne water, and others. Put differently, it is sore, rusty and dilapidated.
Geographically, Amanuke sits in the centre of Awka North which houses nine other communities – Achalla, Amansea, Awba-Ofemmili, Ebenebe, Isuaniocha, Mgbakwu, Ugbene, Ugbenu, and Urum.
Given its close proximity to the Government House, Governor Willie Obiano can literally hear cockcrows in the community through the window of his cosy office. To the residents, their case is clearly that of people forgotten despite their being within the capital territory.
The terrible situation in Amanuke did not start today. It merely worsened. As if they saw it coming, the community through self-help had financed a number of projects and handed them over to government for management many years ago.
These projects include a multi-million naira cottage hospital (now General Hospital) built from 1978-1983, primary healthcare centre, and a Community Secondary School. The general hospital has a gigantic 2-storey building of about 100-bed capacity and five bungalows all in an expansive compound.
A visit by Daily Sun showed that the health centre, which initially had four bungalows now has only one standing since two crumbled years back while the fourth one has been taken over by rodents and dangerous reptiles. A section of its fence has equally collapsed. So, the facility’s functionality can, at best, be described as skeletal.
We observed that wasps and hornets have built a number of nests on one of the bungalows marked as Male Ward, while the land surrounding the building was cultivated.
At the Community Secondary School, many classroom blocks have also crumbled and the whole place overgrown by bushes. Daily Sun gathered that the dilapidated structures in the school have become safe haven for street urchins who reportedly make it rendezvous for smoking marijuana.
The situation is not different at the Amanuke General Hospital where residents told our reporter that there was only one medical doctor and about two nurses who ‘warm’ the facility.
The whole place was desolate while droppings of domestic animals and rodents littered the floors, even as cobwebs hung on various parts of the buildings during Daily Sun’s visit.
A community leader, Mr. John Odoegbunam Ekemezie lamented the abandonment of the community not minding its nearness to the seat of power.
To access the community from Awka, the major road leading to it starts from the popular, ever boisterous UNIZIK Junction or Regina Caeli Junction through Okpuno community. But a taste of hell for a visitor to the area starts from Isuaniocha, the junction that branched off to Mgbakwu.
In fact, it would be literally easier for the biblical camel to pass through the eye of the needle than to use the roads regardless of the type of automobile.
During health emergencies, residents struggle to convey their sick ones to Awka and most times before they could wriggle out of the bad road their situation usually worsened.
The story is the same about the road leading to Ugbene community which extends to 9th Mile in Enugu State through Awba-Ofemmili/Ugbenu/Ebenebe road.
As if to worsen their case, even though the administration of former Governor Peter Obi connected the community to national grid, residents said they have not set eyes on flicker of electricity from the public source for more than a year now.
Efforts to meet the Transition Committee Chairman of Awka North Council, Mr. Ferdinand Onwuje for his reaction, were not possible. However, when contacted on telephone, he said that he was not aware of the situation being new in office and was yet to be briefed on things on ground.
“You know I just came into office. I don’t know about these things you are asking me now. Nobody told me about it. There is no way I will be here and know what is happening in Amanuke.
“Until it gets to my notice, then I will know what to do. If there is urgent problem, they have to inform me. But for now, I have not gone round the communities which I will still do,” he said.