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Kuje’s tale of a ‘shelved’ library

At Federal Housing Low Cost, Kuje, less than a kilometre to the Area Council Secretariat, two sign posts draw ones attention to the offices of…

At Federal Housing Low Cost, Kuje, less than a kilometre to the Area Council Secretariat, two sign posts draw ones attention to the offices of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) and behind it, a library/ICT centre where a marked truck sits, revealing the premises also serves as fire service station. But what’s strange is the library/ICT building which has remained inactive for years, its façade now a relaxation spot for the fatigued.

A sign by the library’s entrance shows that it was completed and fenced by Honourable Danladi Etsu Zhin, a former executive chairman of Kuje Area Council. The structure was also commissioned by Senator John James Ekpanudoedehe, a former Honourable Minister of State of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on September 25 2007.  

Few people remember any activity ever taking place in the about ten years old library. A road safety marshal recalled seeing some people inside the place in 2016. Another person, a fire man, shakes his head. As far as he is concerned, the place has always been vacant. 

At the Local Government Secretariat, Honourable Abdullahi Danladi Galadima, the present executive chairman, explained that the Library was commissioned during the time of the then chairman, Danladi Etsu Zhin and admits “honestly speaking, the library has not been in use. I met it in its dilapidated state. We have been trying to see how to put it to use so it can help students.” 

Galadima further said that he visited the library/ICT Centre when he came to power the year before. “I want to assure the people of Kuje Area Council that very soon, we will put the library in order. It would be better than it is,” he said, adding that students would have a place to study.

Although the present chairman was a speaker in the council at the time the library was commissioned, he explained that he was not in a position to have any influence due to the separation of powers between the executive and legislature.

The FCT is currently made up of six local councils, comprising the City of Abuja and five Local Government Areas, namely, Abaji. Abuja Municipal, Gwagwalada, Kuje, Bwari,and Kwali. All these were beneficiaries to development that led to the building of libraries in their domain; however, it appears only the library in Kuje is yet to be put to use.

Mr. Ndubisi, is Head of Section, ICT and library, Kuje Area Council. He explained that there was an ICT centre once run within the premises of the secretariat. However, the building outside the secretariat is yet to be put to use even though there are computers there. Occasionally, in 2016, for example, the place got a bit of activity when there was a youth training and empowerment program on ICT.

Inside the library/ICT centre, there are two sections, a bigger one where not less than twenty brand new computers sit idle and dusty on portable wooden desks peered with chairs, a smaller one with mini-cubicles for readers with a long shelf up front. 

Also, there’s a rest room within the building, offices and a room where batteries for solar panels and other equipment, like printers are kept. In the event power goes out, the library and ICT centre is expected to run on solar energy.

Behind the library, there’s a bush with solar panels arranged to tap energy from the sun. However, the good state of all these can hardly be ascertained. 

The idea for Kuje’s local library is for an electronic library and a section for books and readers. Therefore, the council had partnered with National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) to equip it, which they did. The present administration however said it is trying to ascertain the libraries original plan and come to an agreement with partners who have showed signs of wanting to kick-start the library. But until then, there’s no functional library in Kuje Area Council.


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