Paul Omokuvie, Bauchi
For decades, residents of Sabon Kaura community in Bauchi Metropolis have endured sad experiences plying the main road that leads into the area.
A densely populated area in the state capital, the rainy season is usually the period that residents suffer the most as a result of the bad road.
To rub salt to injury, successive administration come and go without fixing it
Some residents, in an interview with Daily Sun recounted their ordeals on the road, praying and hoping that Governor Bala Mohammed would finally break the jinx and fix the place.
Rabi Mohammed Ibrahim, a housewife who owns a provision store along the road, said: “We have really suffered because of this road. “Motorcyclists and Keke NAPEP (tricycle operators) even refuse to enter our area especially during the raining season because of the bad road. And this usually affects our businesses and lives in several ways.”
Ibrahim said the people of Sabon Kaura voted for Isa Yuguda in 2007 after he had promised to construct the road. “But he did not fulfil his promise and we have continued to suffer on that road,” she said.
She was sad that the immediate past governor, Mohammed Abubakar also overlooked the plight of residents of Sabon Kaura regarding the bad road. The housewife lamented that apart from the road, the area was also in dire need of a health facility to cater to the needs of residents, especially women, children and the aged.
“Because of the bad road, a woman from this area once delivered her baby inside a KEKE NAPEP as she was being rushed to the hospital. We have really suffered because of this road and there are many sad stories,” Ibrahim said.
Emmanuel Pius, an unemployed school leaver living with his parents, said he remembered the incident whereby a woman was delivered of a baby inside a tricycle, which he said happened some years ago.
“We were playing football in the field in our area when we saw women covering the Keke NAPEP with clothes and we were told that a woman was in labour,” Pius said.
The young man, who usually assists his father to sell foodstuff along the Sabon Kaura road, stated: “Many people have really suffered on this road. We used to look for commercial motorcyclists to bring us home but they do not like to come to our area so we usually have to trek.”
Sha’aban Umar, a student of the College of Agriculture located near Sabon Kaura, because of the potholes, said whenever the students are trekking home after lectures, motorists usually splash water on them.
“The road has brought pain to many people,” Sha’aban said.
Another student, Muktar Muhammad Adamu, who is studying Quantity Survey at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), Bauchi, said while residents often suffer more during the raining season, the dry season provides no better experience.
Sabon Kaura is attractive to residents of diverse backgrounds because of its strategic location to many educational institutions in the state capital, and its proximity to the GRA area.
Adamu, an indigene of Kano State, said: “During the dry season the dust is unbearable because of the unpaved road. We usually avoid taking the road during the dry season because the dust often brings dirt.”
A lecturer with the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, who pleaded anonymity, described Sabon Kaura as a peaceful community with diverse ethnic and socio economic composition.
“The main problem of the area is the road. Most of my colleagues have built personal houses here but our vehicles do break down because of the bad road. I have abandoned my car on a number of occasions because of mud or flood. It is terrible. If that road is constructed, life in Sabon Kaura will be more meaningful,” he stated.
Recently, Governor Bala Mohammed flagged off the construction roads across the state.
The governor stated that N5 billion was earmarked for township roads in Bauchi Metropolis and N1 billion for Azare Township as part of the urban renewal as a strategic response to infrastructural gap.
The administration had also flagged off the construction of Sade to Akuyam road linking Darazo to Misau, which was awarded at the cost of N3 billion
Fortunately for these long-suffering residents of Sabon Kaura, theirs is one of the roads earmarked for construction. According to Mohammed, the Sabon Kaura to Jos road by-pass was awarded at the cost of N1 billion.
The governor said during the flag-off ceremony that his administration was embarking on road construction and rehabilitation projects in order to deliver on its campaign promises before 100 days in office.
The governor said when completed, the roads would reduce the hardship being experienced by the benefitting communities. He expressed confidence that the road projects would improve the social-economic development of the affected communities.
The Permanent Secretary, State Ministry of Works and Transport, Engineer Stephen Abubakar, explained that the Sabon Kaura to Jos Road by-pass is 6.2 kilometres.
Residents said they were elated with the news and are looking forward to the construction of the road.
Abdulkarim Adamu, a vulcanizer, said he was truly happy to hear the news that the current administration has plan to construct the Sabon Kaura road.
“This is the best news I have heard this year and if God permits that it is done, then the next is the hospital. The clinic that we usually go to is located at Yelwa, three kilometres from here, but because of the bad road, it takes us longer and tedious to get there.”
An elated resident, Musa Tafida, said when he saw bulldozers and other equipment, and heard the news that the Sabon Kaura road would be constructed, he was overjoyed.
Tafida, a student of ATBU, said: “I was really happy because I have suffered long on this road since I moved into this area. Anytime I want to return to my area, when I think about the bad road and all the obstacles I would encounter, I usually feel bad. If truly the governor wants to construct the road, then we will pray for that day to come
The Managing Director of TRIACTA Nigeria Limited, the company handling the road projects, Mr. Elie Ferhat, pledged to justify the confidence reposed in his firm by completing the road projects within six months.
The head of Sabon Kaura community, Umar Adamu, said he was happy about the prospect of the road construction in his lifetime.
Speaking with Daily Sun, Adamu believes that his community has lagged behind in terms of social and economic development due to the bad road.
The septuagenarian said: “In my life, I have witnessed the electrification of my community when former Governor Adamu Mu’azu shook my hands and promised to give us electricity. And he did. We are forever indebted to Mu’azu.
“Recently, the current governor (Bala Mohammed) also shook my hands when he came to the area and promised to construct the road. If the road is constructed, it will be named after him as a way of honouring him. When he held my hand, I remembered Mu’azu.
“Perhaps before I die, I will see a lot of progress and one of them is the construction of the Sabon Kaura road. I am grateful to the governor for flagging off the construction.”