Abuja residents groan over dusty roads

The on-going and abandoned roads constructions in Kabusa and Galadimawa area have triggered respiratory and other forms of sickness amongst residents; KEHINDE OSASONA writes.

From the month of October, especially in the northern parts of the country, when breeze sweeps through the cities, it picks up unpleasant and harmful particles in form of dust and sand that are injurious to residents.

Aside from this, the on-going roads construction and abandoned roads projects in Abuja satellite towns appears to have escalated the dry and dusty menace.

For instance, around Kabusa and Galadimawa, it has become almost impossible for residents to travel along these routes without sneezing, coughing or wheezing.

This dusty road which has become a nightmare has occasioned health complications and this is also affecting businesses.

Decrying their situation during an exclusive chat with Weekend Blueprint, some motorists, traders and residents lamented that the situation has affected their lives negatively, saying that they “can no longer cope.”

By their disposition, the developments may have inflicted both social and psychological trauma on the residents, such that no week passes without news of people’s health deteriorating.

A resident, Mrs. Joan Anike, who narrated her ordeal, said sometime last year, she was diagnosed with a respiratory infection.

She said, “I was not feeling so fine that day. When I could no longer bear it, I went to the hospital in company of my husband where I was diagnosed with an acute respiratory infection. I thank God today because the rest is history.

“My concern, however, is that the dust coupled with the hazy condition is still there. Unfortunately too, our house was built here, so we cannot run away but can only appeal to government to tar our road which has been abandoned for so long.

 “If you go towards the bus stop, you would discover that work is on-going at the Galadimawa roundabout, but for me it has been like that for months now without extending it to the untarred road. I see such situation as worrisome and I fear for my health and that of my family.”

Also, in Kabussa, another resident, Joshua Abuga, who complained about the state of the road and dusty environment, called for government intervention, saying that the roads had been abandoned for too long thereby causing health hazards.

“This is not good news at all. If you look at the lifestyle of some of us in the suburb of Abuja, you would discover that Abuja is not made for us at all.

“Again, just few months ago, a woman died due to respiratory disease which some of us have already attributed to these dusty roads. This woman became sick that at a time we were told she was taken home for traditional cure, only for us to hear of her death a few weeks after. My brother, it is so pathetic here; government should just come to our rescue.”

A civil servant, Mr. Aminulahi Ladan, blamed previous governments for the slow pace of the work.

Ladan said some of the road contracts were either poorly awarded or abandoned by contractors.

On how to solve the problem, he said, “The FCT Minister should step up his game if he wishes to surpass his predecessor. As fellow human being, I do not know why they are not feeling what we are feeling in this part of Abuja.

“Ordinarily, developing this type of places was long overdue. So, whatever excuses they are coming up with should be disregarded. What people want is action and results.”

An  Okada rider, who gave his name as Tochukwu James, said although a particular task force always harasses them, he felt a relief when the owner of the motor bike collected it back from him.

“On a daily basis as a hustler, I’m used to inhaling this dust if I must survive as a man. Even on the same route, task force and Okada robbers won’t stop tormenting us. In fact, I am fed up.

“But with the little rest I have had, the way I breathe now sounds better than what it was. For me, what it means is that before now, I was killing myself slowly in order to survive.

“Nevertheless, my appeal to the government is for them to try and mobilise contractors back on the road so that more lives can be saved.”

Raising more alarms, a commuter, Al-Hassan Musa, told this reporter that he does not know why “government has refused to hasten the on-going work in the FCT.”

The situation, according to him, has led to hike in transport fares by commuters in this area.

Segun Akinde, a resident, said the dust on the road has covered his wife’s shop, adding that “she has to wet the frontage to enable them him to breathe well and operate their business.

Akinde therefore called on government to assist the residents with the road, adding that as more roads are being opened, the situation might get worse.

Lamenting, a food seller popularly known as Iya Ibeji said the road has driven her customers away because of the dust they inhale while eating.

 “We are begging the authorities to come to our aid by reducing our sufferings,” she said.

A member of the Natinal Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), who declined to disclose his name because he was not authorised to speak, blamed the FCT authorities for the menace.

According to him, the FCT minister is not doing enough in the area of road provisions and maintenance.

He said, “I have been in this city for almost 25 years now, but I must tell you I am not impressed by the development, especially in the area councils.”

 Efforts made to get the Director of Satellite Towns Development Department (STDD), Mr. Felix Nwanko, to speak on the matter were not successful as calls put through to his phone could not connect.

Also, the Director of Engineering Services could not be reached on phone, but someone who works in that department, said, “I am not in a position to confirm to you that the road is in the 2020 budget. What I can only tell you is that funding would be available for some abandoned roads project soon.”