By: Shehu Muhammed Shehu
Sanusi Attahiru, a resident of Ƙungurki sells provisions at the side of the 7-kilometer road in Ƙungurki community of Kaura Namoda local government.
Mr Attahiru had been running his small shop for many years without any major challenge but the road under construction changed this in 2021.
The construction of the 7-kilometer road, which was started in 2021, has remained uncompleted ever since, leaving houses and shops around in heavy dust during dry season and marsh during rainy season. Instead of full construction, the road was only cleared for leveling by the contractor in Sabon Gari, Kungurki and Daba communities.
“All these places would be flooded by water during the rainy season because the road is bad and has no drainage; my customers wouldn’t be able to come here to buy goods,” Mr Attahiru lamented.
Mr Sanusi Attahiru in his shop at Kungurki community. Photo credit: Shehu Muhammed Shehu
This reporter observed that the road has just been graded with neither gravel nor tar and the contractor abandoned the project more than eight months now with so many holes in it. No proper drainages were constructed in the villages and no culverts.
For many years the communities of Sabon Gari, Ƙungurki and Daba villages of Kaura Namoda local government, Zamfara state, had been battling with lack of access to good roads.
In 2021, the federal government, through its zonal intervention projects, budgeted N200,000,000 for the completion of Sabon Gari-Ƙungurki-Daba 7-kilometer rural road, but the project has been abandoned more than eight months ago which, according to residents, made the situation in the area even more dangerous than before.
The project which was included in the 2021 Zonal Intervention Project (ZIP) was facilitated by a senator representing Zamfara North Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Senator Sahabi Ya’u Kaura, and It was assigned to the Federal Ministry of Water Resources under the supervision of Sokoto Basin Development Authority (SRRBDA).
As contained in the signage, the contract was awarded to the MESSRN NEPPFME SOLUTION LIMITED, Company, located at area 7 Garki, Abuja, for the completion of the road, in collaboration with AG PARTNERSHIP LIMITED.
Bilboard of the Sabon Gari-Kunkurki-Daba abandoned road project. Photo credit: Shehu Muhammed Shehu
Documents from the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation made available to UDEME, revealed that funds budgeted for Zonal Intervention Projects (ZIPs) in 2021 had been fully released to the agencies tasked with the implementation of respective projects.
When this reporter visited the area in early April, 2023, the communities told the reporter that they were facing numerous challenges ranging from accidents to floods. Subsequent follows up till August shows the condition of the road remains the same.
A resident of Sabon Gari, Aminu Bala who spoke in dismay, stressed his displeasure over the project which he said they prefer not to have the project in the area as it only makes the situation more tedious.
“With the kind of problem we are facing from this abandoned project, we wish the project had not been brought to us as it just created more difficulties for us,” he recounted, adding that they have to use camels and donkeys in transportation of their goods and services to the market in the rainy season.
“My son and I have been spending the whole night flushing water out of my house during the rainy season,” said Habibullahi Halilu, an 85-year-old resident.
He stated that due to the stones on the road and lack of proper drainages, the water now passes through his house.
Part of the dilapidated Sabon Gari-Kunkurki-Daba rural road. Photo credit: Shehu Muhammed Shehu
This reporter observed that the road has no proper drainage.
Alhaji Ibrahim, a resident of Dayau village, told this reporter how he lost his only son due to the current situation of the road.
“He was the only son that l have on this earth, he was the one that takes care of me. In fact, he was my everything but unfortunately, three months back, he got in an accident on this dilapidated road and was found dead in the vicinity of the accident,” Alhaji Ibrahim said while shedding tears of bitterness.
Another victim, 25-year-old Halilu Usman sits on the bed with a bandage on his leg. He rides a bike commercially to sustain his family but unfortunately had an accident in 2022. Since then, he has been nursing fractures on his leg and can no longer ride a bike or walk properly.
“Actually I can’t even estimate the amount of money spent for the treatment of my leg but still you can see how the leg is. l can’t go anywhere, even to stand up, l can’t and l didn’t get any assistance”, Mr Halilu said.
Halilu Usman, one of the victim of the abandoned road sitting on stalk bed with multiples fracture on his leg. Photo credit: Shehu Muhammed Shehu
Hafasat Shu’aibu, wife to 65-year-old Shu’aibu Aliyu, has been taking care of him and their four children since he had an accident on the road.
“We are just managing life because we have sold out all that we possessed in treatment of his leg, now l have to do some labor works and other things for our living”, Mrs Hafsat stated in a pitiful tone.
The district head of the Ƙungurki, Jafaru Abdullahi Ƙungurki, said the contractor informed him before commencement of the project, but he didn’t inform him when he abandoned the project.
“The contractor was here before starting the project, but he didn’t come back to me when he abandoned it. Is it a financial issue or something else? I don’t know and l have no idea about why the project is abandoned,” he said, saying that he’s aware of all the difficulties that his people are facing.
The Ministry of Water Resources said it is not aware of the project. Muhammad Abdurrashid, the Zonal Director in charge of Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara and Katsina states, spoke to this reporter.
“If the federal ministry wants to implement a project in the state, no matter how stupid they are, they must send a letter to us informing us what they want to do because they couldn’t implement it without letting us know,” he said.
A Freedom of Information (FOI) request was sent to the Sokoto Rima River Basin Development Authority. The agency failed to provide information requested on the excuse that the letterhead on the letter submitted was not well designed. This excuse is in contradiction to the dictates of the FOI Act.
Letter of FOI written to SRRBDA.
Media aide to the senator, Ibrahim Habibu, said the contractor abandoned the project in order to complete another one in Nasarawa Godel of Birnin Magaji LGA. He promised they would get back to work as soon as they finished.
When asked about the payment, he directed this reporter to the agency.
“l don’t know anything about the money released to the contractor, so you should contact SRRBDA,” he said.
This report was produced under the UDEME project of the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID).