Daily Trust

How erosion threatens livelihoods in 20 Abuja communities

About 20 communties in two area councils have been cut-off from the rest of the Federal Capital Territory following days of torrential rainfall that has destroyed their access roads.

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Residents from 12 communities in Gwagwalada Area Council could not access their homes, markets and neighbouring communities due to an uncompleted road project which they said had worsen because of torrential rainfall. 

The residents of some of the affected communities including Dada-Biri, Wumi, Gbedna, Goi, Gurfata, Rafin Zurfi, Ashara, Maje, Peti, Ledi, Tsauni, and Dutse said the Gwagwalada-Dobi-Izom road has remained the Achilles heel of several past governments, adding that this administration has not fared any better. 

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While residents in the communities in Gwagwalada Area Council wade through water, on foot or motorcycles, their colleagues in about eight communities in Abaji Area Council use canoe to cross a river across the road after the bridge linking Yaba- Dangara caved in. 

The bridge connects several communities including Dangara, Ashara, Kuka, Bubo, Gurdi, Madani, Tekpeshe and Lafia-Yaba.

Aliyu Bako, a motorist who spoke with our reporter, said since a recent flood wreaked havoc in the community on Saturday, he now spends more than two hours travelling to Abaji as he had to go through Yaba to Kpada, Gulu  and Suleja in Niger State. 

“In fact you can see it for yourself what the people of Yaba are passing through. We have been cut off completely as one has to travel through Kpada-Gulu in Niger State before getting to Abaji. It is frustrating,” he said.

He said there was no provision for speed boat to convey vehicles across the river, adding that those with vehicles in Yaba town have to pass through the long detour through Niger State.

Also, residents of Dada- Biri, one of the affected communities in Gwagwalada Area Council said the remaining section of the road has been abandoned. 

They said the first phase of the Gwagwalada-Dobi-Izom road project which began under the past administration was awarded to an indigenous construction company, Ndubueze Engineering Company Limited, in 2010.  

The completed section of the road was constructed and asphalted from Paikon-Kore to Government Secondary School (GSS), Dobi, while the second section of the stretch, which is uncompleted, was also handled by an indigenous company, Niek Engineering Construction Company, under the supervision of the Satellite Towns Development Department (STDD).

The residents lamented over the delay in completing the road, especially some bridges and culverts across some streams and rivers. 

A farmer, Ayuba Darwana, said residents could no longer go to the popular Kara market in the area to sell their farm produce as such some of the harvested crops get spoilt.  

He said the recent heavy rainfall in the area also affected motorists, especially motorcyclists that plied the road after two culverts on the road caved in.  

He said residents going to Lambata market in Niger State to buy and sell goods have become stranded since the incident, adding that others returned to their villages and few people waded through the stream. 

“That very day, I was going to my farm across the stream from Wumi. When I got the stream, I discovered that the bridge had collapsed. People who were going to market at Lambata were stranded, while some of them had to wade through the stream with their loads on their heads,” he said.

 A native of Dada-Biri community, Markus Barau Mamman, said it has been difficult for him to access his farm since the bridge collapsed. 

He said the new bridge which was constructed along the new road, has been abandoned for three years by the construction company.

Locals mostly travel by the road to Lambata market to transact business, but the collapsed bridge has caused untold hardship to them.

According to him, residents from Gbadna, Goi, Ashara, Wumi and Peti that mostly go to Kara market near Dobi to sell their farm produce also find it difficult to do so since the bridge collapsed.

“The day the bridge collapsed, the former House of Representatives member, Alhaji Isah Egah Dobi, and some of his aides who were travelling to Lambata had to turn back as they couldn’t cross the river,” he said.

Mamman maintained that the collapsed bridge has affected the socio-economic activities of the residents.  

“The contractor handling the project abandoned the work over three years now. While a part of the bridge they constructed across the river,  another collapsed due to the heavy flood,” he said. 

He therefore called on the authorities of Gwagwalada Area Council under the leadership of Alhaji Adamu Mustapha, to liaise with the FCT Administration on the need to mobilize the contractor back to site to complete the road project. 

Also speaking, the Madaki of Dada-Biri, Malam Abubakar Daniya, said the collapsed bridge has made life difficult for his people and those of other neighbouring villages along the area. 

He said majority of the inhabitants are peasant farmers who mostly transport their crops to the market at Kara or Lambata in Niger State. 

“The day the bridge was washed away by flood, many people from my village and other villages as well as motorists coming from Gwagwalada and Dobi were stranded. It is those with motorcycles that were able to wade through the river to continue with their journey,” he said.

He said also that many farmers are now finding it difficult to transport their crops across the river to Lambata market due to the collapsed bridge on the Dada-Biri-Wumi road. 

He therefore appealed to the FCT administration to come to their aid by fixing the road and the collapsed bridge, saying residents of the area have no other road apart from the Gwagwalada- Dobi-Izom road. 

“I am sure you know how important the Gwagwalada-Dobi- Izom road is; it is the short cut which some people who are coming from the South/east and North/east ply to avoid being caught up on traffic holdup along the highway, but the project has been abandoned for three years now,” he said.

Reacting over the abandoned Dada- Biri road project, the coordinator of Satellite Towns Development Department (STDD), Ishaku Tanko Yamawo, said the department would meet with the contractor handling the road project to ascertain the level of work and later mobilise him back to site.

He further stated that the department had also met with officials of the Ecological Fund Office to inspect the Yaba bridge which has cut off residents of the community as a result of heavy flooding.

“As I speak with you now, we have mobilised workers to the scene to provide a temporary measure pending the commencement of the main work because we saw the need to increase the length of the bridge,” he also said.