The forgotten people of Kamkiri
JOSEPH ENNA writes that residents of Kamkiri in Nasarawa State are living on the fringe of human existence and will love government›s presence in their community, so as not to be left behind in human development owing to the current state of insecurity and lack of basic amenities.
FROM Lafia, the capital city of Nasarawa State, to Kamkiri in Wamba Local Government Area, the journey is three and a half hours. It could have taken probably less than half of that time if not for the bad road leading to the area. One would have thought that no such community exists, except for those who had foreknowledge of its existence. The reason is not far to seek. At some points during the journey travellers often have a feeling of being in a cul-de-sac. In other words, journeying to Kamkiri would bring nothing but nightmare, especially for a first-time visitor.
Arewa Live discovered that the Kamkiri could only be accessed with less stress only by motorcycle. Any other means of transportation would definitely be a misadventure that would leave the travellers in agony for days, as such person would have spent excruciating hours on a journey that should have taken less time with good road.
Ironically, residents of the community who use the road on a daily basis for their businesses and other engagements have grown used to it. They had to accept their fate, according to some of them, after vainly trying to get government to come to their aid for several years.
If things were bearable during the dry season, the rainy season is definitely worse as the roads are simply rendered impassable. Any time there was a heavy rainfall, the residents, according to them, would be trapped inside the community. They would not even be able to access their local government secretariat or visit neighbouring villages as the streams would have overflowed their banks.
The village representative, Mr Danladi Usman Angwe, while speaking with Arewa Live, confirmed that the situations in the community, were very un-salutary, saying they feel abandoned by government and politicians who only come to visit them and make promises during elections.
“Kamkiri, among seven other surrounding villages, has never experienced government presence,” Mr Angwe told Arewa Live. “We don’t know what our sins are. From what you can see here in terms of infrastructure, it shows how much of neglect we have suffered at the hands of government.
“We lack good access roads, educational structures, no potable water and no health facility. We were only surviving by the mercies of God, until a lawmaker recently donated a clinic, but it [the clinic] has no major facilities. We have always taken our women and children through the rough roads when they fall into labour or they are sick.
“Before the coming of the clinic, life has been very difficult for the people because they used to cross several rivers before they could receive medical attention. Since you came on same road, you can see how long it took before getting here,” he said.
Angwe expressed further gratitude to the lawmaker who came to residents› assistance by building the health facility for them. He also appealed passionately to the government to come to their aid by repairing the road linking the village, providing them with potable water and helping them to rebuild the community schools which were built through communal efforts decades back and had been in a state of disrepair for several years.
“Our road is bad. In fact had it been you made the attempt to come during the rainy season, you wouldn›t have been able to get here. Government should also help us by constructing bridges.
“There are also security challenges in this place. Not far away from this place, a while ago some of our people were killed by armed robbers and there is no mobile telephone network, no roads, Even our schools are dilapidated as you can see..
“We want government to helps us look into all these issues, including the security situation of this place. We are really at the mercy of God, because series of attacks have been carried out against us and there is nobody to help.
“We are pleading, at least if a police outpost could be put in place here in the district, it would reduce the problem of insecurity, and our people would feel safe,” he pleaded.
Angwe revealed that work on the Palyam, Bokos and Wamba roads whose contracts were awarded years back by the Federal Government was yet to commence. He urged the government to revive the contracts and speed up the construction work to reduce the agonies of people in the area.
Also, Husseni Yakubu, a staff of the new clinic in the community, was full of praise for the lawmaker who donated it. According to him, more than 35 persons are attended to on a daily basis due to the large number of patients in need of medical attention. Severe health cases, he explained, are usually referred to the General Hospital in Wamba. He also noted that most of the staff members in the clinic are volunteers.
“Patients from Mutua, Garwa, Mabo, Tuket, and Kuburu, which are the closest neighbouring villages, between six and seven kilometres away dominate our record list here for medical attention. We don’t have enough staff in this place. So we want the government to come to our aid by giving us more full-time workers. Most of the people you see here are voluntary staff and I alone cannot do all the work in this clinic.
“Aside that, water is another big problem we are facing in Kamkiri which has also affected this clinic’s operation. Yes, so far, we are satisfied with the building, but some facilities are needed to bring it up-to-date. No drugs, no water; so government needs to step in to assist us,” he added.
Blessing John, a resident of the community also expressed worries over lack of government’s presence in the area.
She said: “I don’t know when last we’ve seen government presence in this place apart from the lawmaker who came to commission the clinic. Our schools, both primary and secondary, were built through communal efforts.
“There is no water, no road, in fact even the little farming activities we engage in to survive is now being threatened by herdsmen. We are no longer safe in this place because our people are constantly being attacked and killed,” she said pleading with government to have a rethink by estabilishing some development projects in Kamkiri, instead of concentrating government presence in urban centres alone.