It was fun last week Thursday for residents of Jeida, Gbesan and other neighboring communities in Kuje area council, as they rolled out drums to celebrate the construction of a 60-metre bridge to link up the communities.
The project was executed by the Embassy of Japan in Nigeria in collaboration with local Non-Governmental Organization (NGO).
The Gbagyi women in traditional regalia danced to the tune of the local bands to entertain the guests, who included the Ambassador of Japan to Nigeria.
The Jeida community under Kuje central ward, whose inhabitants are mainly peasant farmers have an approximate population of 1,600. The residents of the area had before that day, faced the challenge of good access road and a bridge to link them with Kuje town.
Nagarta Iya, a farmer for 30 years in the community, said he had a tough time accessing his farms across the river.
He said he would take a detour through Gbesan -Sauka villages before he could arrive his farm.But he said the construction of the bridge has brought a big relief to him.
“If it were before, I would have to ride on motorcycle from Jeida and pass through Gbesan to Sauka along Airport road, before I would arrive my farm. But now the road is shorter because of the construction of this bridge,” he said.
He recalled how he paid huge amount of money to motorists to convey his farm produce to Iddo or Gosa markets due lack of a bridge across the river.
“In fact, the amount I spent to transport crops to the market was higher because the vehicles had to pass through Gbesan to Sauka before reaching Jeida village to convey my harvest to the market. Instead of taking the Kuje express road, which is the shortest way, but the river has always been an obstacle because of lack of a bridge,” he said.
Mrs. Laraba Jummai, a house wife, who spoke with Aso Chronicle, said she cultivates melon and sesame at her farm across the river and she would rather swim across the river than take a longer route.
She said even when she was returning home from the farm with firewood on her shoulders, she preferred crossing the river than taking the long route.
Jummai said the intervention of the Japanese embassy would make farming easier.
Another resident, Musa Joshua, said crossing the river at the peak of the rainy season was so challenging. He added that they were happy now they would not have to face that hurdle in life again.
Malam Aliyu Danjuma, the village chief of the community, said the construction of the bridge has no doubt brought a sigh of relief to the people of the entire community, saying farmers had faced the problem of how to transport their farm produce to the market.
He said he was overwhelmed with joy that the bridge would now link his people with neighbouring villages, saying rural framers are the greatest beneficiaries of the bridge.
“At the peak of rainy season, my people suffer a lot especially framers who have their farms across the river, “he said.
The traditional ruler, however, noted that the community elders had on several occasions appealed to successive council authorities to provide a bridge across the river, but nothing was done until the community based NGO drew the attention of the Japanese embassy to intervene.
“Today, I am filled with joy for the intervention of the Japanese embassy in Nigeria. They have wiped away our tears because majority of my people are framers and most of their farms are across the river,” the village chief added.
While commissioning the bridge, the Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Sadanobu Kusaoke San, noted that the project was initiated and implemented by Umuago Urualla Infrastructural Development Union, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) under the scheme of Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Project (GGP).
He said the embassy of Japan had so far implemented 158 projects in various regions and areas of the country with a total disbursement of $11 million.
He said the Jeida bridge project like the other projects was designed to improve the quality of life of the grassroots people.
Mr. Kusaoke, noted that prior to the bridge’s construction, farmers had suffered a lot in an effort to cross the Usuma River to access their farmlands.
He said with the bridge, the farmers were now able to have safe and easy access to their farmlands and ease of transporting their farm produce to market which would boost economic activities of the village over time.
Similarly, Mr Femi Adebiyi, GGP co-ordinator said GGP only supports viable projects submitted by NGOs, noting that out of the numerous applications they received from NGOs, only the few best were selected based on the budget that they have.
He affirmed that the GGP evaluation team that visited the site confirmed cases of farmers drowning thus warranting the intervention.
The project, which, he said started in March 2017, gulped $75, 960, adding that the GGP had executed numerous projects in the country which falls either under infrastructural projects, agricultural projects, vocational training centres or educational and primary healthcare centres.
However, the chairman of the community based (NGO) Umuogbo Urualla Infrastructural Development Union, Chief Livinus Ngwangwa, said an average of hundreds of farmers, and at least 10 communities would benefit from the project.
Also, the GGP co-coordinator, Mio Nakano, explained that GGP has been working in Nigeria for years, further stating that they do six projects per year on the average.
On his part, the chairman of the council, Alhaji Abdullahi D. Galadima, represented by the council vice chairman, Tanko Duda, appreciated the effort of the Japanese embassy for the marvelous project executed for the people of Jeida community.