Some leaders in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Friday decried the lack of basic amenities such as potable water and Primary Health Care centre in their communities.
Leaders from Kwali, Kuje, Bwari and Abuja Municipal Area (AMAC) Councils said this at a news conference in Abuja.
The leaders include: Ayuba Abdullahi, Mabushi Community (AMAC); Yusuf Shuaibu, Leleyi-Gwari (Kwali); Nuhu Michah, Rije (Kuje); Bala Luka (Bwari) and Hajiya Aisha Mohammed, Women leader (Kwali).
Mr Abdullahi of Mabushi Community in AMAC who spoke on behalf of the community leaders noted that everyone deserved a better life and the right to be treated fairly.
According to him, our communities have been neglected over the years, and we consistently have been involved in ensuring that we vote peacefully during elections.
“But after every election cycle, we only watch our leaders on TV, hear their voices on the radio or stand by as they drive in their convoys (motorcades).
“Our darling communities which they all troop into during campaigns for the elections have long been forgotten.
“As elections draw nearer, we are here as a people, in the unity of voice; we have come together to send a reminder to our leaders in the Area councils and National Assembly that we deserve a better life.
“Getting medical care is a huge challenge for many of us in our communities.
“Some of our communities (Rije and Kuzhako) do not have any Primary Healthcare Centre (PHC). We have to travel kilometres to neighbouring communities to access healthcare.
“For other communities, the PHCs are poorly equipped and the physical conditions of the centres are deplorable. For instance, the PHC in Mabushi and Leleyi-Gwari is almost collapsing.
“In times like this, where our communities were battling the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent cholera outbreak, there is the urgent need to fix all Primary Health Centres,’’ he said.
Mr Abdullahi added that the provision of medical equipment and facilities such as the installation of water points should be a priority for the government.
He said that some communities now struggled to get drinking water from surface streams used by animals.
“Our women and girls do not get enough water to maintain personal hygiene during their menstrual cycle.
“This situation is worse in the Kuzhako community in Bwari and Leleyi-Gwari in Kwali Area Councils.
“The few boreholes provided by the government, years ago have either stopped working, inadequate or faulty.
“We are calling on the Chairmen of AMAC, Kuje, Bwari and Kwali Area Councils to visit these communities for a needs assessment and consider us for intervention,’’ he said.
On the issue of unemployment, Mr Abdullahi lamented that most of their young men and women were languishing in poverty due to a lack of jobs and information on programmes and projects that would benefit them.
“For many of us in remote communities, who have taken up agriculture/farming as our occupation, we can boldly say that we have never benefited from government agricultural schemes for smallholder farmers.
“We are calling on our Councilors and Area Council Chairmen to include us in government schemes and interventions that will benefit our people, especially the youth,’’ he said.
On schools, Mr Abdullahi decried the absence of schools in most of the communities, adding that their children had to trek over 10 kilometres to attend schools amidst kidnappings and insecurity.
Mr Abdullahi said it was regrettable that the original inhabitants of Abuja were suffering at the hands of land grabbers.
“Our lands have been taken from us without due compensation or even notice and/or resettlement plan; from Leleyi-Gwari in Kwali to Kuzhako in Bwari, no community is spared from land grabbers.
“Our lands have been taken over by rich, wealthy individuals and companies, who just come to our communities with papers claiming to have been allotted to them by the government.
“Resistance from us has been met with lethal force. We cannot afford a house in the city centre and we are being displaced from our villages.
“We will not allow any person or political party to come into our community to campaign without signing a contract with us,’’ he added.
The leaders, however, pledged to remain law-abiding citizens of the FCT and Nigeria.