Paduma Villagers As Neighbours To Asokoro’s Rich And Mighty | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe


Paduma Villagers As Neighbours To Asokoro’s Rich And Mighty

Posted: Jul 8, 2015 at 5:44 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Hassan Zaggi –  Abuja


Because there  is no toilet for us pupils in the school, before I come to school I usually finished everything at  home. But the remaining pupils, whenever they want to go to toilet, they run to the bush. The school environment is surrounded by bush.”

This is the lamentation of the Hanatu Obadiah, an 11-year-old pupil of Assumption Primary School, Paduma, in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

Padamu village is at the centre of the FCT. Ironically, the village is right behind Asokoro, a high brow neighbourhood. The inhabitants of Paduma village are the indigenous tribe of the FCT – Gbagyi.

The little Paduma village is surrounded by storey buildings owned by the rich and the mighty in the country.

Asokoro, many believe is among the most expensive high brow districts, not only in Nigeria, but also in Africa. Those who own houses in Asokoro are the super rich in the country and foreign bodies. In fact, 90 per cent of state government lodges and embassies are located in Asokoro. The poor only go to Asokoro to serve or work for the rich.

While the children of the super rich in Asokoro are being conveyed in vehicles to their computerised, air conditioned and well furnished private schools, the children of Paduma village are left to struggle in a public school with dilapidated classrooms, and without toilet facilities and water.

The sorry state of Paduma village came to the lime light last week, when the Rotary Club of Wuse Central, Abuja, donated a block of four classrooms, a block of toilets and a borehole to the school.

Speaking to Daily Independent, Hanatu said: “We are happy today because Rotary builds classrooms, toilet facilities and borehole for us so that we can have water to drink. Since our parents don’t to give us money to school, Rotary has provided for us water so that when we are thirsty we can get this water to drink.

“The only toilet that was here before was already bad and it is only meant for the teachers. We the pupils don’t have any.

“Because there was no toilet for the pupils in the school, before I come to school I usually finished everything at home. But the remaining pupils, whenever they want to go to toilet, they run to the bush. The school environment is surrounded by bush. I am happy that Rotary Club has given us this things and I want God to bless them.” One of the female class three teachers who gave her name as  Aunty Elizabeth, while expressing the agony they usually pass through when they want to visit the toilet during school hours, said: “In fact before the Rotary came to our rescue, we used to find it very difficult to ease ourselves whenever we are pressed.

“This is because whenever you are having stomach disorder and you want to visit the toilet, you don’t have anywhere to hid yourself. No water to wash yourself and everywhere was. You come to school and nowhere to ease yourself. Even when you go to the bush, you have nowhere to bend down. It is not easy for us.”

She further explained that whenever they needed water they normally go to water vendors popularly called ‘mai ruwa’ to buy a jerry cans which cost N40 each for them to clean up the children whenever they messed themselves up.a cleric, Rev. Fr. Ochigbo Anthony of Catholic Church of Assumption, Asokoro, in an interview with Daily Independent, described the Rotary Club’s intervention as  a commendable humanitarian gesture.

The school, according to him, was established by the church a long time ago “when we felt that there was never government presence here”.  While giving a vivid picture of the school prior to the intervention of the Rotary Club of Wuse Central, the cleric said: “The best picture I can paint is to have a general look at the village. It is a typical village and an abandoned place. A place where the rich think they can leave alone, and then any day they want they share out the land to themselves.

“Even what we are doing now, I cannot tell you that the rich are  not fighting to ensure that they uproot this community and this school from here. If possible, they can even uproot the poor.  “The case about the land around here had been to court before; we won, the villagers won. Even when the villagers won, the rich are using another approach now to go to appeal, but the court has never sat to listen to them.

“But individuals are coming to say that the land belongs to them. Most people are afraid to put infrastructures here, believing that if they do, they can’t tell since Nigerian government or the rich people and even those who think that power belongs to them do not have plans for the poor,” Rev. Fr. Anthony said.

He added: “Like some persons will practically say that Abuja is not for the poor people. But the church, wherever the human beings are, there is our project. We do not mind what we lose because the primary thing is to serve them and raise their dignity.

“The environment was very dilapidated. The environment was very bad, but it is better and it is only going to get better and even best with the presence of the church and people like Rotary Club and associations like that coming to help.” Commenting on the project, the District Governor, Rotary District 9125, which comprises 23 states and the FCT, Mike Omotosho, said that the aim of the project was to enable the  pupils learn in a comfortable and decent environment.

“You will agree with me that learning under the tree and the bad environment you have seen around is not the most comfortable and convenient way to learn.

“The teachers may be in there but the pupils may not grasp as much as possible. But once the environment is conducive, it becomes a lot easier.

“Now you can appreciate why the toilet and the water come in there. Literacy must go hand in hand with education and water and sanitation too are very important. So when they need to go and ease themselves, they can ease themselves comfortably instead of using the neighbouring bushes there. They can then go back to the  classroom comfortably clean and listen to what the teacher  is saying,” Omotosho said.