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Untold story of Abuja slum dwellers

Amidst the high cost of accommodation in Nigeria’s capital, some low income earners have found solace in some slums in the heart of Abuja, where…

Amidst the high cost of accommodation in Nigeria’s capital, some low income earners have found solace in some slums in the heart of Abuja, where they eke out their living, Daily Trust Saturday reports.

Daki Biu and Kpadna are two densely populated urban slums right within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

Our correspondent who recently visited the slums reports that their physical outlook and that of those who live in them contrast sharply with the opulent capital city.

Due to their proximity to the city centre, where most offices are located, both communities attract a lot of dwellers.

At Kpadna slum located in the Utako District, Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) of the FCT, the most striking feature in the crowded settlement is smelly gutters full of filth, criss-crossing the sprawling mud buildings with rusted roofs.

And the buildings and too congested for cross ventilation.

Notwithstanding the stench emanating from the filthy drainage in the community, people were seen cooking, even close to them when our reporter visited.

Yunusa Mukaila, who had spent more than 15 years in Kpadna, said that notwithstanding the filthy and other abominable things in the slum, he still enjoyed living in the community with comfort.

He, however, said the community’s lack of a primary health care centre was a major challenge.

Mukaila said: “I have spent 10 years in this community. I have two wives and six children. It is very peaceful here. In my apartment, we have a fan and a restroom. These are the basic amenities found even in the city centre. Of course the surrounding areas are somewhat filthy, and therefore, people are prone to malaria because of the presence of mosquitoes in the environment.

“A major challenge we are facing is the lack of a primary health care centre. Most of us go to Karimo to get treatment whenever we are sick.”

Also, Bello, who works as a labourer said: “I am living in a tiny room where I barely stretch out my legs while sleeping. There is no bathroom or restroom; it is just a room with no kitchen and no corridor. Although it is connected with electricity, there is no tap water inside.”

On the other hand, Daki Biyu, located in Jabi and inhabited mostly by the Gbagy, is said to have been in existence for over 15 decades.

Although the community lacks basic social infrastructure, residents appear contented with their dwarf round huts, most of which have poor ventilation, just like Kpadna.

Mrs Shade Owu, who resides in Daki Biyu, said residents of the community lived in fear due to rumours of demolition.

“Perhaps, because of its prime location in the capital city, residents live in perpetual fear of waking up one day and seeing bulldozers pulling down their shanties,” he said.

Rufus Aminu said the security issue in the area needed to be looked into, adding that thieves often broke into people’s shops to cart their belongings away.

“There should be provision of effective vigilance to take care of the area so that people can leave their shops and return the next day to meet their goods intact without any fear,” he said.

Speaking to Daily Trust Saturday through an interpreter, Hassan Shagari, an elder in the area, re-echoed the challenge of demolition in the area. He said: “Most times, land owners come without notification to demolish buildings because they want to develop their land. They come to mark houses for demolition without the community leader’s awareness. It is a major problem to us. Sometimes they tell us that they are from the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA). Indigenes’ houses are also marked.

“Our demand is that the government should resettle us at a permanent site where we can live without fear of demolition. Most times you see them coming with a joint task force. This makes people live in fear because they often come when people have gone to work.”

 

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