Gosa is a community of diverse people from the indigenous to other all-comers close to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport. Though very peaceful, the activities of some few and that of a construction company are threatening the well-being of residents. AJUMA EDWINA OGIRI who was there recently captures what she saw with additional account from agencies
Gosa Village as it is popularly called is located on the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua Way. The activities of some committed criminals have given the settlement a wrong name.
Like other suburbs of Abuja, Gosa has its fair share of robbery, burglary, petty theft and other sundry crimes. But it is duping, otherwise called obtaining by tricks (OBT) in local parlance that Gosa is alleged to excel in.
These criminals it was alleged, are gradually turning the village into a haven for crimes and other illicit activities. The hoodlums, according to residents who are afraid to have their names in print, tend to have concentrated their activities in the area called Gosa Gbaigbai. They reside there like other tenants, and in keeping with the principle of good neighbourliness. They direct their dubious activities on the unsuspecting strangers rather than the people living with them in the settlement.
A resident, who would not want his name mentioned said before now the miscreants used to go for criminal activities as from 6pm. But these days, they start from morning as early as possible. He said he was particularly baffled by the way they trick their unsuspecting victims. According to him, they even invoke some arcane powers to cast spell on the people so that they could manipulate them, rob them or trick them into surrendering their belongings.
Usually, he said, they would take off from the major traffic points in the metropolis such as Garki Area 1 and Berger Junction, and move towards Airport Road, picking innocent passengers: “It is along the road towards that the operation will take place because that is your route. We have seen so many people that were duped. At times, the victims are hypnotized to obey whatever they are told to do.”
Often, he said, the criminals would sit in the vehicle like passengers before their targets would enter: “As you try to enter, one of them will trick you into going in on the pretext that he will be alighting at the nearest bus-stop. Then they will put their hands into your pocket or bag and pick all they can without your knowledge. Along the way the driver will say he is not going that route anymore and would discharge you and will turn to move away before you realize what has happened.
But the village has another notoriety according to Blueprint findings, which has to do with a stench that emanates from the central dumpsite of Abuja that is based there.
Ibrahim Abubakar is a 26-year old man who scavenges from the garbage at Gosa dump site. He does this with much enthusiasm, not minding the irritating sight and stench of the dump site as he uses his bare hands to dig into the heap of wastes to look for recyclable materials. This is the plight of many families living in Gosa as they earn a living from rummaging and selling whatever recycling materials they get from the dump site.
The dump site is in Gosa village and is located some few kilometers away from the road. This is the place where all the waste collected from the capital city of Abuja and its environs is being disposed of.
Anytime Abuja Environmental Protection Board’s (AEPB) garbage truck comes to dump refuse from the city, the place is always a beehive of activities as residents of the village all come out struggling with one another to get hold of one waste material or another to add to personal collections for onward sale.
In the recent however, the same dumpsite which seems to be a money spinner for members of the Gosa community has also become a major cause of concern because of the spread of wastes from the dumpsite. This spread of the refuse from its original site attracted some of the truck drivers to dump their loads away from the actual site they were supposed to. This and the heavy rainfall made the road leading to the dumpsite waterlogged and swampy thereby making it inaccessible for the garbage trucks to reach and dump refuse. The place is looking bedraggled as a result of this and it has also thrown the community into a state of discomfort, beside the serious health hazards it poses to them.
It is against this backdrop that the director of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) Dr. Isa Shuiabu, led a delegation of the board on a fact finding mission on the site and was disappointed at the devastating sight of the dumpsite and also frowned at the abandonment of the temporary construction of road at the place by the company handling the project.
According to the director, since the access road to the site has been blocked and there was no way the waste can be returned to the city, the garbage trucks had no choice but to dump on the easiest accessible point which is by the road side.
“As citizens they have the right to complain considering the smell and the fact that it may affect their health. I had to come here personally to appeal to their chiefs and all of them to show more understanding,” he said.
Engr. Bello. M. Abubakar, of engineering department of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) and also the engineer in charge of the project said the contract was awarded to Diamond Development Company, which is an indigenous company. He said he was also disappointed by the state of the site and frowned at the incompetence of the company.
According to Engr. Bello the contract for the construction of the temporary road was awarded about two years ago with the completion period of five months.
“If they had constructed the road, we wouldn’t be having this problem. It’s really unfortunate,” the director of AEPB lamented.
Looking at the site of the construction company in charge of the project which is not far from the dumpsite, no activity seems to be going on there judging from the deserted look of the place. The only thing that can be seen there were only two old bulldozers which from a critical observation are spoilt.
This sight triggered the director’s anger and according to him, it only shows lack of seriousness and incompetence on the side of the contractor.
“How can a construction company who claims to be working be in such a state? He has just shown he is not interested in the project. This place doesn’t look like a place anybody has set foot on in the past six months or more,” he lamented.
He urged the engineer in charge of the project and the engineering department of FCDA to do their best in ensuring the completion of the temporary road and also give the contract to a more capable hand. They should also try and increase the speed of the contractor because it is not fair on the path of the villagers.
“We have to increase the capacity considering the rainy season. We have to deploy as many machines as possible to address this issue. I have to meet with the engineering department of the FCDA and the contractor, invite the contractor to see how critical the site is so I can put pressure on the contractor and also tell him how urgent this job needs to be completed,” Shuiabu also added.
The director said the most critical project for his department is access to the dumpsite. Whatever job he’s doing in the city will not be seen if there is no access to the dumpsite, he said.
Dr. Isah Shuiabu ordered for bulldozers for immediate removal of the filth and the road cleared for the villagers to go about their normal activities.
Mr. Simon Bako who is the chairman of the village thanked AEPB for taking action on the road and also coming to their rescue.
“We were suffering because the road was inaccessible. Our women could not go to the market to sell their farm products. We thank AEPB for rescuing us from this stench and also providing road for us to pass once again,” Bako said.
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