Residents of Pyakasa have been leveraging on their population to address the dearth of infrastructure in their community. Through their communal efforts, they have constructed drainage and installed four transformers to power their settlement.
The residents through communal efforts belong to several committees that address their challenges. They have been able to buy four transformers and construct a drainage of more than one kilometre through this committee that has garnered the support of everyone residing in the community.
Pyakasa is an urban slum few kilometres from Lugbe, on the Airport Road, Abuja. Politically, it is delineated in Kabusa Ward of the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) and its inhabitants are multicultural, reflecting the cosmopolitan nature of the capital territory.
Some of the residents said they have been able to provide social amenities for themselves through communal effort, understanding that government cannot always solve all their problems.
The chief of the community, Bako Josiah, said the community has benefited from its teeming population with a good mix of people from all walks of life.
He said due to the love and unity that abound in the community, people who do not own a vehicle see no wrong or harm in spending hours working on the road to make it passable for vehicle owners in the community.
“We have various committees which aid our development, we have committee on road, light, security, water etc,” he said.
Despite their efforts, the chief said they still lacked some amenities that could make life better for them.
He lamented that the amenities provided at the Abuja Technology Village (ATV), were wasting away while they long for such from government but never get any.
He said it is more disturbing that the road construction at ATV stopped few metres to the community. As such during wet season it is usually difficult to access our settlement.
“During the rainy season, going to the express road is very difficult because the roads are bad within the village. You can see that the roads are not good at all, so we would like the construction company to come to our aid,” he appealed.
He said on many occasions, residents had to park their vehicles outside the community because the road must have been flooded by water. On such days, he said, the residents would either trek or board motorcycles to their houses.
The community’s youth leader, Joshua Ismaila, said the situation forced them to contribute money to ease their pains.
“We contributed money to construct the drainage that you see here, and we had to hire workers to help us grade the road. We paid them without the help of the government or private individuals,” Ismaila said.
He said the resident address other challenges in the community same manner, with the help of the committee set up on electricity, they were able to buy four electricity transformer to add up to the one provided by the government.
Ismaila said the residents were however saddened by the high billings by the electricity distribution company despite their contribution to the electricity supply in the community.
“They still bring high bill saying they are only charging us for the current we use,” he said, alleging that there are houses that receive a bill of N17, 000 per month regardless of the days within the month that electricity was not supplied.
He said distribution could only help in addressing this challenge by providing prepaid metres to the residents.
On security challenges, he said the committee on security is responsible for the operation of the vigilante group constituted by the community.
He said though there are still some security challenges, the vigilante group has helped in ensuring that residents live and go about their businesses peacefully.
“Even in organised society there are still security challenges but the vigilante has really helped us. We only pay them a token as a mark of appreciation,” he said.
The community head, Josiah, however said the community could be transformed if the centre for culture and tourism constructed during the administration of Zephaniah Jisalo as AMAC boss is renovated and put to better use.
He said the centre, which has been in a state of disrepair over the years, could also be a source of revenue to the council if properly managed.
He said the centre was not properly handed over to the community as such they were not aware of their responsibilities and that they do not know who should be maintaining and cleaning the place.
He said though the community still cleans the place and cut the grasses in and around the centre, but there is need for the area council to renovate the centre.
“When renovated, it will encourage and promote social activities in the community and add value to our lives,” he said, adding that the place would be useful for several social and cultural activities thereby generating revenue for the government. He said such revenues could also be used in maintaining the centre.
The gate to the centre had pulled off while ceilings of buildings in the centre have fallen off when our reporters went to the centre.
The centre for culture and tourism was built by former AMAC Chairman, Zephaniah Jisalo and commissioned on March 10, 2005. Some residents said the centre has been abandoned since it was built, adding that there was no security personnel attached to it.
While the community looks up on the government to renovating the centre, Josiah said most of the youths in the community are idle because there is no more land for them to farm.
He said the government has been allocating the land thereby taking their source of livelihood without empowering youths and vulnerable people in the community.
He said though the residents cannot fight or stop the government from allocating the land, he said there should be a plan to ensure that the people were given something to do for them to provide for their families.
“There are developers that come into the community to claim the land for infrastructure. So if the government can come to our aid in providing jobs for us we will be happy. There are many unemployed graduates here,” the youth leader, Joshua Ismaila said.
He also appealed to the government to come to their aid by constructing the road that leads to the community, this, he said will attract business people to the community and better the lives of residents.