It poses Security Threats – Residents
By Time Nigeria
Pegi Residents in Kuje Area Council of Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are apprehensive over the security threats the deplorable condition of roads pose to them in the area.
The settlement was said to be allocated to some of the indigenous people and landlords whose houses were brought down by Nasir el-Rufai bulldozers during his administration as FCT Minister some 10 years ago, has remained without good road.
As the residents bemoan the state of the roads leading to their place of abode, some of them recount their experiences on how many people have been attacked on the road while returning from work or business places especially in night.
One of the residents and a business owner in the estate, Mr Ajala Bamidele, said the major challenge of the road is because of the difficulty motorists encounter as they try to navigate it, they became target of thieves who robbed them of their belongings in the bushy part of the road.
He said there are thieves on the road, armed robbers waylay people especially on the Kuje or Gosa market days because they believe that the traders have gone to sell and were returning home with money.
“Because the road is bad and one cannot drive smoothly, it makes it easy for robbers to block the road and attack people. When a car enters a pool of water or pothole on the road, the hoodlums, carrying cutlasses and some other weapons, block the road and attack the passengers.
“The bad road has really increased the incidences of robbery in our area. In the last two weeks, we have had more than five cases of robbery. In fact, last week Thursday, a security personnel was accosted on the road and macheted by the thieves as he was returning from work around 9p.m,” he said.
Bamidele added that despite the bad condition of the road and some other things that are not working or not in existence, the government still came to collect tax from the residents.
While calling on FCT authorities to come to their rescue, he said the only thing they hear every year is that Pegi road is in the budget but at the end of the day nothing would happen.
“There was a time that the engineers did about one kilometre of the road but it was washed away because there was no drainage. Nigerian Navy that has an estate the area fixed one of the roads but that one also went bad as a result of lack of proper drainage,” he said.
A shop owner who has been resident in the estate for two years, Mrs Cordelia Melifonwu, was visibly displeased by the state of the roads, saying that motorists are the most affected as the situation becomes worse during the rainy season. She added that residents are suffering and there is need for the government to urgently attend to the situation.
“That is how people are suffering and it is even worse for car owners. See my car there, a mechanic is attending to it for a repair because of the damage the road has caused it, the bottom plate is cracked and leaking,” she said.
Melifonwu said contractors started working on the road sometimes ago but only to abandon it owing to lack of proper funding, adding that the residents would be appreciative of government’s intervention.
Mr Andrew Peter, another resident, accused government of neglecting the people and only showing interest during election campaigns.
“The road has always been like this during the rainy season. The government would promise that it will repair it but nothing would be done. But when election time comes candidates would come again and start promising us that they would fix the roads up till date we are yet to see the result of their promises.”
He also said, as a result of the deplorable roads, residents have started relocating from the estate to other areas where they could move easily, without any hitch.
Mrs Ede Rita, a businesswoman said her concern is that the situation has affected business patronage.
“We experience poor patronage because there are no customers from outside. We are just limited to people that are managing to live here in terms of patronage. It is also affecting our worship because on Sundays we find it very difficult to cross the bridge to attend service. To that effect, we gather ourselves in a place to worship rather than passing through the tough terrain.”
One of the dangers the roads posed is that motorists do not come into the area from 5.00pm for fear of being attacked.
The chairman, Pegi Estate Development Union, Mr Oriola Wasiu expressed his concern over the state of the roads leading to the estate and efforts that have been made since he came to reside in the estate over a decade ago.
“All the infrastructures in Pegi have always been by communal effort, the road we called bush path was opened up by me when an Okada man discovered the road. I told the residents then that we should open up the road since we didn’t have any good road and we did. Some, at first objected because it was people’s plots but we have to open it because we didn’t have an option and that is the road we have been using since then,” he said.
He said the Nigerian Navy road called 1000 Unit Road was awarded by the federal government to the Navy so that they can pack into their barracks but they are experiencing the same problem now.
Mr Oriola said despite the FCT Minister, Muhammad Musa Bello’s visit to the area to commission the Navy Quarters where he promised that the roads issue would be attended to, they are yet to hear anything six months after the visit.
He said that Kuje Area Council abandoned the roads project because the council could not pay N360, 000 charged by Eco plan for the road.
“Eco plan charged Kuje area council N360, 000 if am not mistaken but they said there was no money to pay. But we now have our roads committee and we are ready to handle the construction if they show us the permanent road. We are ready to pay for the refill if we are shown the permanent road so that we stop wasting money on the bush road repair,” he said.
Oriola added that the condition of the roads has been posing many dangers to the community, ranging from robbery attacks to stealing especially for those coming home late in the night. “The motorbike is the major means of transportation here but those into the business consider this place a no-go-area from 5.00pm because of attack on them and their passengers,” he said.
The chairman however call on government to come to their aid especially on the road, adding that electricity also need to be looked into. He requested also recreation centres and government schools with health care centre instead of going all the way to Kuje for health care.
One of the members of the association, Idemoh Sunday, accused the government of insensitivity which, he said, was the reason the money annually awarded for the construction of the road kept disappearing into thin air.
“Personally, I believe that the government is not sensitive to what we’re going through here. I think the roads will not be done soon because I have seen the bad roads in other suburbs of the FCT. What actually surprised me was that the FCT Minister was here and he passed through the bush road but he claimed to be unaware of this place. He said that they would construct the main road that leads to Apo but nothing has been done.
“Although, one of the roads was awarded six years ago, it still risky to ply. we hear that every year, about N100 million is awarded for the road but nothing is being done about it,” he said.
He said what is left for them to do is to take placards and go to the senate committee on roads and see what they will do for them.
“If you are coming from Kuchako, the entire roads are tarred but coming here the road is deplorable. It is possible that, that place was earmarked for us before they brought us here because nobody was leaving in those places.
“My thinking is we should come together and get a contractor to work on the road and mount a toll-gate to the estate to get the money back since the government is not responsive to our plea,” he added.
Idewoh said they have written letters to the Satellite Towns Development Authority, Aabuja Metropolitan Management Council, FCT administration and other authorities concerned but the issues remain unattended to.