9th December, 2017
The people of Igu community in Bwari Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have expressed worry over the poor road network in the area.
They made their feelings known at a Town Hall Meeting on “Community Participation in Good Governance Project.’’
The event was organised by the Justice, Development and Peace Commission, Abuja chapter.
Solomon Tanzako, the District Head of the community said that the bad roads were affecting their business negatively as they were finding it difficult to transport their farm produce to the market, especially during the rainy season.
He said that the community, with a population of more than ten thousand people had farming as its major means of livelihood.
“The major challenge we have in this community is road, during the rainy season we cannot carry our goods to Bwari to sell because of the bad roads.
“Government has been promising that they will fix the roads but they have not done anything, I am begging them to come to our aid so that our businesses can thrive.’’
According to the district head, the community has also been promised electricity by their representatives so many times but the promises are not being kept.
He stated that there was electricity on the high tension of transformers in the community but not connected to their households.
Tanzako also said that the community lacked good health facility, stating that there were no doctors and drugs, adding that the doctors usually sent to the facility were casual ones that couldn’t handle critical cases.
He also called on government to deploy more teachers to the community as the ones on ground were inadequate.
Mr Henry Unongo, JDPC project manager said that the programme was aimed at training community members on how to engage their representatives in government to carry out their responsibilities to the community.
He noted that Igu community was isolated from the city centre due to bad road, adding that with the enlightenment they would be able to hold their duty bearers responsible to their promises.
According to him, many politicians make promises just to attract the votes of people of their community, but disappear after the election and this cannot continue.
Unongo explained that with the trainings, people of the community would be more enlightened to their needs as they had been orientated and have the capacity to hold their politicians accountable.
“We want to create a space for them to be able to make their voices heard, we are creating the awareness.
“So that they can use the information to engage their duty bearers, their political representatives whose responsibility it is to carry out community projects.
“We selected some groups in this community and trained them on social accountability, public expenditure tracking, they will be the ones holding their representatives accountable on behalf of the community.’’
He added that the organisation plans to expand the project to other communities to ensure all round community development.
Mr Timothy Makama, a member of the community who benefitted from the JDPC training said that due to failed promises by politicians, they had drafted an agenda for their representatives.
Makama added that all the needs of the community would be highlighted in the agenda and the politicians would be made to sign when they come for campaign.
He added that the document would be used to hold them responsible and if they don’t keep their promise, they would not get our votes.
According to him, another challenge the community has is the Panunke dam, constructed and has not been put into use for some years.
H explained that during the rainy season, the dam overflows and cars could not pass the area.
He also complained about the poor drainage system in the community.
“There is a dam constructed in Panunke, a nearby village and we do not know the use of that dam because since it was constructed, its resources have not been harnessed.
“They also constructed a narrow bridge on the dam, we are appealing to government that our people are suffering when it rains and they have not compensated our people living where that dam is located.
“But with this training, we have been able to carry out some advocacy and plans are underway to compensate the indigenes of that area.’’
Another resident, Mr Elisha Solomon said that the training made them realise that the citizens should drive the government and not the elected politicians.
Solomon added that the community had been suffering for long due to the absence of social amenities.
According to him, he has been educated and can challenge their representatives in government who fail to deliver on their promises
He assured that the community would sue any politician who does not live up to his responsibilities.