© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Over 70-year-old Abuja community with no water, school, electricity
By Pius Samuel
FOR over 70 years or so, Gosa Kpai Kpai, an indigenous Gbagy community along airport road in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja has not felt the presence of the government.
The Gbagys in the community who are among other ethnic groups touted as the original owners of Abuja—Nigeria’s seat of power – have lived in the community without the basic social amenities such as health care center, water, electricity or a single school.
Forty-three-year-old Amos Gyiayinba who heads the community says he has never seen electricity beeped in Gosa. This is despite the closeness of the farmers’ dominated settlement to the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport.
At its entrance are street lights that illuminate the express but its interior is littered with uninstalled electric poles mounted for years.
Amos reveals that the uncompleted electricity project was initiated by the Municipal Area Council (AMAC) in 2016.
As the village head, his intervention has not yielded any positive results. He says the Area Council abandoned the project due to paucity of funds.
According to him, he approached the contractor that handled the electricity project to find out why it has not been completed. But Amos said the contractor told him that he had done what the money he was paid could do and that until he’s given additional money, the project would remain abandoned.
He also approached the Councilor representing the community about lack of electricity but all the efforts have proved futile, he said.
The identity of the contractor for the electrification of Gosa Kpai Kpai has remained hidden to anyone at the moment, but a source at the AMAC secretariat who pleaded anonymity alleged that the contract was awarded to Ceramic Global owned by AMAC chairman Abdullahi Candido.
Daniel Baba, the secretary of the community, lamented that for all the years that Gosa Kpai Kpai has existed as a community, it has not benefited from any of the basic social amenities from the government.
“As you can look at the electric polls, they have been standing there for over three years. They have been abandoned by the government. The electricity was contracted to someone by the AMAC but till now, we have no water, no light, no road, no hospital and no school,” Baba said.
He stated that the community has been in existence since 1946 and pleaded with the Federal Capital Territory Administration to come to their rescue claiming that he doesn’t know where or how they might have offended the administration that they’ve been neglected.
Sunday Bikoi, GUI Ward chairman under AMAC, corroborated that the project has been abandoned because of lack of fund but the AMAC chairman assured the people that once he is re-elected, he would look into it.
When asked about the amount that was released for the electrification to the contractor, Bikoi said “I don’t know how much was given to them for the contract because the contractor did not tell me and the AMAC chairman also did not tell me how much was given to them.”
A Freedom of Information request, which has a seven day window as allowed by the law was sent to AMAC chairman Abdullahi Candido by The ICIR, on the 6th of June, 2019 to make available the contract details for the electrification of Gusa Kpai Kpai for the purpose of this investigation but as of the 14th June 2019 which made it the seven days allowed by the law, the chairman did not respond.
Joseph Dakoi, the Youth Secretary of Gusa Kpai Kpai told The ICIR that over 20 people that he can remember have lost their lives because of lack of health center between 2018 to 2019.
Due to lack of electricity, the people of Gusa Kpai Kpai have recorded loss of lives when children of the community are either crossing the highway to school or to charge their gadgets.
This report is supported by the Ford Foundation and International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR).