Mountain village is a community of few households sitting comfortably at the summit of the rock behind Dantata Construction Company yard in Garki, Abuja, few minutes away from FCT Police Command headquarters. There are two pathways to reach the summit of the rock where the community is located.
One is through the old Benue Link motor park by Guzape junction, while the other is by the fence of Dantata yard, by CBN junction, Garki. Both pathways are bushy with reptiles moving freely. Neither motorcycle nor tricycle could use the pathway, meaning that no car or motorbike owner live in the community.
Expectedly, basic facilities for human existence, notably, electricity, portable water, road, schools and healthcare facilities are conspicuously absent. The houses are built with mud, with no toilet, bathroom, kitchen and other relevant fittings attached.
It was observed that entire community practice open defecation, which is a sure invitation to epidemic outbreak. Makeshift bathroom with used water running outside with offensive odour are next attraction to the mud houses in the community. No safe playground for children, neither are there market for economic activities.
The community leader, who identified himself as Alhaji Haruna, disclosed that the community has been in existence for the past 14 years and it has been growing in size and number due to additional blessings from God: “I am the ‘mai gari’ (owner of the community) of this community. I settled here some 14 years ago because I needed a location where no one could come disturb me.
“It is true that we are few in this settlement but amongst us are people from different tribe and religion in Nigeria living in peace like one indivisible family. We have mosques and churches here where people worship. I never invited them to join me, they came on their own and requested to stay and I accommodated them.
“We are at peace with one another here. As the community leader, I ensure that love, peace and unity are maintained. I also ensure that justice is done to everyone irrespective of tribe and religion.
“Our men and women here are hardworking. It is only our women that engage in recycling of ‘take-away’ packs in FCT. They buy the used ones, wash them thoroughly, repackage them and sell to their customers at different locations in Abuja and beyond. Most of their customers are restaurant operators, roadside food vendors and other people that package food items.
“That has been the major source of income for our women over the years. Our younger ones engage in farming and other little businesses in town so they can be able to provide for their families. Our children attend schools in Asokoro and Garki because we don’t have school here.
“Our major challenge has been that, for over the decade we have lived here, we have not had the opportunity to enjoy public power supply. We rely on generators for our power needs. We had approached Dantata Company for light and water but our request was rejected.
“As regards water, we rely on a pool around the rock to get water for sanitation. Just recently, we discovered where something that looks like clean water was gushing out of the rock. We put heads together and fixed a pipe there for easy fetch. That is the water we drink, for cooking and other use.”
In spite of poor hygienic environment and unhealthy exposure, the community leader said the community has never experienced epidemic outbreak in recent years, and had enjoyed peace and unity.
A mother of two, Grace, said the community has been the most peaceful place she has lived in few years: “We are not much here but we are doing great, individually and collectively. We know, love and care for ourselves. We know each other’s unique personality and how to respectfully relate with each other. That has been the secret of peace and love in the community.
“Our major challenge is non availability of basic facilities for human existence. But we are afraid to openly make the demand from government because that could turn their eyes our way, and that could also make them reduce our houses to rubbles.”
Children of the community returning from school admitted to our correspondent that the journey to school in Asokoro is stressful.