Living in Nyanya Labour Camp, one of Abuja’s filthiest slums

On a recent Sunday afternoon, Gloria Akan walks out of a small cubicle behind her house where she had answered the nature’s call.

At the Nyanya labour camp, one of Abuja’s poorest slums, where she lives, Mrs. Akan and her family have used the latrine inside the cubicle for the last two years. Yet, she dreads the thought of returning there each time she is pressed.

Her greatest worry, however, is that her family shares the little latrine and a bathroom with five other families. Due to overuse, the toilet facilities have broken down, with coloured stinking water dripping from one of the pipes inches away from her bedroom window.

The Akans are only one among hundreds who live under terrible conditions at the Nyanya Labour Camp, a 20-minute drive from the Abuja city centre.

The camp was originally built by the Federal Government over 30 years ago to accommodate the labourers who built the Abuja city.

The houses were designed for one occupant per room, with the rooms facing each other. The rooms are built in clusters of five in a section for the lowest class and six-room-in-a-row blocks of one bedroom flats for others.

After the labourers left, the Abuja administration transferred the houses to civil servants and low ranking police officers.

Precisely in 2006, the government introduced the monetization system and began selling the rooms to mostly the lowest ranking civil servants as well as junior police officers. Unoccupied rooms were taken up by squatters.

“The labourers who came to [build the Nyanya Labour Camp] are done with the work so they have left and its over 30 years now,” Nosike Ogbuenyi the Special Assistant to the Federal Capital Territory said. “Most of them are dead by now, that was when the monetization system came into place.”

Soon, the camp became a full-blown slum.

Several residents have built extra rooms to the houses, some adding toilets within their rooms. The camp is overcrowded. The access roads are terrible, ridden with pot-holes with sewage from burst sewage pipes crisscrossing the camp.

Occupants narrated the experiences of living here for years.

Mrs. Akan said she treats her kids for malaria and typhoid fever nearly every month.

“The pipes that take the waste from the toilet to the soak-away are broken, likewise the soak-away itself. Our children play around there. Almost every month, I treat my kids for malaria as a result of mosquito bites,” she said.

A shop where she sells vegetables and fruits sits at the edge of an open drainage conveying sewage.

“I go there (her shop) with my kids most times to sell and while I am attending to customers, they play around the gutter,” she said.

Most residents of the camp admitted they settled there because they could not afford a decent home elsewhere.

“An average Nigerian would not like to live in this environment,” one of the residents, who sought anonymity because he is a civil servant, said. “As you can see, it’s an eyesore. The toilet system is really bad. The road is also bad but as a civil servant, one cannot afford a place in the major town and have to stay in such a poor environment.”

Delayed relocation

In 2006, the United Nations Habitat declared that the camp is not fit for human habitation.
The Nigerian government responded to the verdict by announcing a plan to relocate the residents of the labour camp.

Residents of the camp view the relocation with mixed feelings. While some residents look forward to better accommodation, many others view the relocation as an eviction plan with a goal of selling the camp’s land to some of Abuja’s deep pockets.

“The government should hasten up the relocation process so we can have a better place for living,” Mrs Akan said.

Most male residents, however, preferred that the government developed the slum rather than relocate its occupants entirely.

“We hear the new place will sell from N4 million and above. How many of us here can afford that?” one of the residents asked.

He advised the Nigerian Government to provide better infrastructure and social amenities at the camp rather than relocate them. He said relocation was a waste of money.

The government has named the 152-hectare Gidan Daya site in Kurudu, Kurudu District, Abuja Municipal Area Council, AMAC, as a possible relocation site. The new site may be completed in three years. It is expected to contain 8,064 flats.

N14.07 billion has been approved towards developing the site.

The Minister Of State for the Federal Capital Territory, Olajumoke Akinjide, said the new camp would include good roads, electricity, water supply, and a drainage system.

She added that support facilities planned for the site would include schools, markets, a police station, primary healthcare facilities, a fire station and every other thing lacking in the current camp.
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JAMB fixes May 17-31 for 2014 UTME through CBT

Bwari (FCT) – The Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) on Wednesday fixed May 17 to 31 for the conduct of 2014 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) through Computer Based Test (CBT).

This is contained in a statement signed by Mr Fabian Gabriel, the Head of Public Relations of the board, and issued to newsmen in Abuja.

According to the statement, the CBT will take place in over 163 centres in Nigeria and abroad, saying the date was sacrosanct.

The statement also described CBT as the best mode of examination.

It, however, urged the candidates to reprint their e-slip in the event they missed or misplaced their schedules.

“Over 616,000 candidates are expected to sit for the examination with over 250 prisoners in Kaduna and Ikoyi prisons,” it added.

“The CBT remains the best mode as it provides better platform for the candidates to articulate their educational pursuit.

“It eliminates result black-out or incomplete results and eliminates examination malpractice and enhances prompt release of scores two hours after the examination, among other benefits too numerous to mention,” the statement said.

It added that the board was determined to go full-blown with CBT in 2015 UTME, owing to success recorded in 2013 and the quests to sanitise the education sector.

The statement said that CBT was introduced in 2012 while the maiden edition was conducted in the 2013 UTME alongside the conventional Paper Pencil Test and Dual Based Test.

The statement reported Prof. Dibu Ojerinde, Registrar of JAMB, as saying that the desire to go full swing with CBT in 2015 was non-negotiable.

It urged Nigerians to see it as a revolution in the examination industry. (NAN)

Advice To JAMB 2014 CBT Candidates

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), once again has called on all CBT candidates to read and practice their past question papers to enable them succeed in this year’s JAMB examinations and not to believe in malpractice because there will be no room for that….
Oladeji, in Lagos said that all the necessary equipments to make this year’s CBT exam successful has been put in place.
He also reminds CBT candidates that the board has given out over 4,000 free compact discs to candidates for the examination, to be used as guide. “We usually give out two discs, with one containing past questions and the other a practical demonstration on how to operate the computer during the examination,” he said.
Oladeji urged candidates who had not collected their discs to come to the Lagos office of JAMB with evidence of their e-registration slips to collect theirs so to avoid anything that will hinder them from writing their exams successfully.


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Masterminds of Nyanya bomb blasts nabbed – Jonathan



President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday revealed that the masterminds of the two deadly bomb blasts that rocked Nyanya, a suburb of the Federal Capital Territory have been arrested and are currently helping the security agencies in their efforts to unmask their financiers.

Jonathan spoke while fielding questions from journalists at the end of the 24th World Economic Forum for Africa, WEFA, held in Abuja which ended yesterday.
THE BLAST —Scene of the blast in Abuja, yesterday. Photos: Emma Ujah & Gbemiga Olamikan.

THE BLAST —Scene of the blast in Abuja, yesterday. Photos: Emma Ujah & Gbemiga Olamikan.

He also said that the Federal Government had earmarked $10 million as matching grant to the efforts by the international community to rescue the 230 abducted female students of the Government Girls Secondary School, GGSS, Chibok in Borno State.

Jonathan said he had declared a total war on Boko Haram ‘’terror group’’ to rout it out of existence in the country, warning that anybody thinking that the spate of bombings and other devastation activities by the Boko Haram sect in Nigeria would force his administration to bend over forward and negotiate power with the sect or their sponsors should rather have a re-think as such a situation would not arise.

He however, reiterated that the successful hosting of the WEFA in Abuja in spite of threats by the insurgents was a clear demonstration that the days of Boko Haram were numbered as they will soon be smoked out with the help of the international community and made to face the consequences of their evil deeds.

”Boko Haram is a terror group and as journalists you should know the meaning of terror. Before the 9/11 no body in the US or UK imagined the dimension of terrorists in the world. You can not be too sure of what ideology that drives their leaning. Sometimes, it is from the religious sentiments… but we need to combine so many factors to underscore their driving spirit . But I want to advice that the terrorists should also know that they don’t do certain things and get away with it because most of these activities are criminal offenses and they should know that when they are caught, they would pay dearly for it. ‘’For instance, I can tell you that the masterminds of the last Nyanya bomb blast have been arrested and would face the long arm of the law.’

”I want to assure also that sooner than later, the abducted Chibok school girls would also be rescued with the help of the global community and we will use remote sensing technology to smoke them out to face the consequences,” Jonathan added.


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