Cut off from Abuja
by The Sun
Gishiri district is located just opposite the popular Nicon junction bus stop. From the pedestrian bridge over the Nnamdi Azikiwe highway, you can look across and see the area, where modern houses are springing up. Gishiei is part of Mabushi district and a walking distance from Ministers’ Hill. For those who may not know, Ministers’ Hill is a highbrow estate that houses former ministers who served in former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s tenure.
With the monetisation of the buildings, ‘Abuja big boys’ bought some of the homes from former ministers who could not maintain the ostentatious lifestyle and the competitive nature of the residents of the estate. As it stands now, Ministers’ Hill is predominantly occupied by business moguls, top government functionaries and expatriates. Gishiri shares a boundary with the highbrow estate.
Conversely, Girishi does not have any semblance of civilisation. The relatively new settlement lacks all the basic social amenities. There are no access roads, hospitals or watertight security, contrary to what obtains in the neighbouring Ministers’ Hill estate. Gishiri is more open and easier to spot from the busy highways. Ministers’ Hill on the other hand is hidden from the eyes of the public.
To add more pains to injury, the two temporal bridges that were built by a good citizen have been destroyed by the high volume of flood channeled into the area from the highways. There are no drainages on the other side of the highway, leading to Gishiri, hence water is channeled into the artificial moat that also houses the remaining bridge leading to the area.
The remaining portion of the collapsed bridge cannot bear the weight of two vehicles at the same time. More so, it is too tiny and in the nearest future, it might be impossible to drive through if the remaining portion of the failed bridge is not fixed. The pitiable condition of the access roads leading to the area has created a market for motorcycle (okada) riders. Rather than drive through the muddy road, some residents now resort to the use of okada whenever it rains heavily.
Besides the only access
bridge, another major one had existed. It linked the area directly from Ministers’ Hill. The bridge was said to have collapsed in 2011. With its collapse, motorists accessing the area had to rely on the only existing bridge linking it with the Nicon Junction. Combined with the pressure from the turbulent flood, weak structure and high vehicular movement, part of the bridge gave way in 2014.
Abuja Metro, during a visit to the area, spoke with some residents. In their separate interviews, they recounted the torture and hardship motorists face, especially during peak periods of the day. They revealed that the traffic build up in the area since the collapse of the bridge is tortuous. According to them, it is tormenting to drive in and around the area whenever it rains heavily.
One of the respondents, Emmanuel Ella explained that: “As when this collapsed bridge linking the entire area was built, I was not there. I know that the other bridge coming from behind collapsed in 2011. This one that is almost destroyed is what we are managing right now. This one right here collapsed last year. That is 2014.
Whenever it rains, this bad bridge is impassable. It is usually overtaken by flood and no one can risk passing through it. We have suffered in this area. I know somebody volunteered to fix the bridge that has collapsed. But I do not know who the person is. There are so many villages inside this place. It is even okay here. If you drive further inside, you will see what I am trying to tell you.”
Residents of the area are not ready to give up. They firmly believe that with the ascension of President Muhammadu Buhari to power and the imminent appointment of a worthy minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the area will be given adequate attention. They also believe that if the relevant agencies of FCT administration are well briefed, they can provide temporal palliatives, pending when the two bridges will be fully reconstructed.
But they urgently seek attention and intervention even before any minister is appointed.