Okwe Obi, Abuja The Federal Government has directed investors coming into the country to pay more attention to rural areas in order to trigger rapid development, adding that there is no amount of money invested in rural development was too much to accrue huge benefits. Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Heinekan…
• Bwari, Dawaki residents at loggerheads
By Magnus Eze
Communities in Nigeria often resort to self-help because of the inability of government at all levels to provide various social amenities. It is, therefore, common for Nigerians to provide water, road, electricity, security and other amenities for themselves, even in the cities, usually under the auspices of community development associations (CDAs).
That is actually the case with Dawaki Extension, a settlement at the foot of the hill opposite Gwarimpa, along the Kubwa Expressway, in Bwari Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), where residents provide water and access road. They are also making efforts to beef up their security.
Recently, one of the construction companies based in the area, SCC Nigeria Limited, delivered a 2.5 kilometre asphalt road with drainage to the community as part of its corporate social responsibility.
That commendable feat has become an object of controversy between Bwari Area Council and the residents, as the Amalgamated Dawaki Extension Residents’ Association (ADERA), an umbrella body of seven registered CDAs in Dawaki, has accused the council of claiming to have constructed the access road.
ADERA is made up of the Rockside Community, Dawaki Extension Residents’ Association, Grace Land Community, Trans Engineering Estate, Range View Estate, Rock Heavens and Dextra Layout associations.
The group, at a press conference at Rockside Garden, Dawaki, on December 12, said it was disingenuous and uncharitable for politicians in the area to want to take advantage of a project that they did not know how it was initiated and brought to fruition.
Flanked by leaders of the various community associations, chairman of ADERA, Chukwudubem Egbunike, stated clearly that the press conference was aimed at putting the records straight.
According to Egbunike, “Contrary to insinuations by politicians already parading themselves as sponsors of the above mentioned road project and that the said road construction by SCC Nigeria Limited was awarded by them or that they were the people that inserted the road project in the 2017 budget, ADERA states unequivocally that this is false, malicious and misleading, to say the least.
“Politicians can’t take advantage of what they didn’t know the source. We started this in 2013 as residents’ association, before SCC came to our rescue.
“Bwari Area Council never came here one day to talk about culverts. They only come with tenement rates. No politician can claim he did this road project; I learnt they are now claiming that they put it in their 2017 budget.”
He, therefore, called on the FCT minister, Muhammad Bello, as a stakeholder in the provision of necessary infrastructure in the territory, to administratively applaud the company for its benevolence, stressing that this could encourage it to do more.
ADERA further appealed to other corporate stakeholders in the area to emulate SCC by partnering the association in the provision of streetlights, patrol vehicles and containers for the two police posts within Dawaki.
“We recently approached News Engineering, requesting partnership to light up the road; we also want construction companies to donate used vans so that we refurbish them for security patrol,” the CDAs said.
Even though Egbunike said security in the area was relatively okay, he admitted that there had been occasional breaches and called for the upgrade of one of the two police posts in Dawaki to a division.
He claimed that the police area command, which covers the area up to Zuba, boasts of only two patrol vehicles, which was inadequate for effective coverage of the area.
“Just imagine when the vehicles are in Zuba and something is happening here, that’s why the seven communities have come together to meet with some stakeholders to find a solution to this issue.
“Collectively, we agreed that the police posts could be upgraded to a divisional police station; that’s why we’ve been talking to some of these construction companies to give us even their refurbished vans so that we can have triangular surveillance of this place; the police posts in Dawaki village and the one here. Then we will ask the police authorities to give us men, now we have vans, so that we can start one of the police posts to a new division,” the residents’ association chairman said.
Also, a member of View Estate Development Association, Akinfolarin Bioye, expressed regrets that despite the preponderance of the middle class resident in Dawaki Extension, there was no government presence in the area. He pointed out that even as water from the Usman Dam is piped through the area, they lacked pipe-borne water.
Bioye urged government, be it the FCTA or the Bwari Area Council, to get involved in the development of the place, since, according to him, with time, they can collect tenement rate.
It was tug of war getting the authorities of Bwari Area Council to speak on the issue but when the chairman, Musa Diko, eventually responded to a text message sent to his phone, he upbraided Daily Sun, asking whether the issue was the only thing that interested the newspaper since the life of his administration.
The area council’s information officer, Emmanuel Ishaku, also declined to speak on the issue when contacted on telephone.
Meanwhile, the Dawaki Extension residents have also appealed to the FCT minister to make out time to come and launch the project, to put paid to speculations about who actually constructed the road.