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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Bomu village: 150-yr-old Yola community without road, electricity, hospital

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The distance of Bomu village from Jimeta, the administrative headquarters of Yola, the Adamawa State capital is just 15km. But it takes hours of hard driving to connect to the village courtesy of the bad road and difficult terrain.

Despite the fact that the village is located in Namtari district of Yola South local government, it is actually closer to Yola North local government, the administrative capital of Adamawa State.

The driver of our vehicle, a Toyota SUV, has shown tremendous dexterity  maneuvering the car through some of the gaping gullies and craters which dotted the landscape.

Sometimes the driver has to negotiate dangerously between trees or rocks in search of a route to enable us to continue with the journey making the trip both exhilarating and nervous.

Our guide, Doctor Sani Zubairu told us that we’re lucky to embark on the journey in the month of April when the land is dry and hard adding that had we embarked on the journey in August, it would have been difficult to accomplish it or we may spend days on it.

At a point during the “brutal trip”, we stumbled on a tree trunk while trying to meander through two closely positioned trees making the bumper of the vehicle to instantly snap from the hood which took us sometimes to fix as the merciless Yola heat waves descended on us. Coupled with that was the anxiety that the men of the underworld who seem to have better intelligence may strike at any point in time.

But somehow, we managed to fix the car and arrive at our destination safely.

Luckily for us, we met a group of elders under the shade of a tree and upon enquiry they announced our presence to the village head (Maijimilla) a humble and level headed middle aged man who treated us with respect and dignity.

The village head Dauda Bobbo (Maijimillan Bomu) who was full of life and humor told our reporter that the village which is home to over 4,000 people was built since the era of Lamido Sanda about 150 years ago, adding that it is one of the few communities fortified with walls ” a defensive mechanism used during wars to fend off attackers”.

But he sadly noted that despite being in existence for a long time, the village has nothing to show for its longevity as it reels under lack of care and government existence.

“Although we have a myriad of challenges, our biggest nightmare is the dearth of roads. This is one of the most viable communities in terms of agricultural output as we are known as the food basket of Yola South, but lack of access road is a serious setback on our quest to feed our local government and by extension our state.

“We find it very difficult to transport our products outside and even to ferry farm implements to our village to improve our trade. Successive administrations have made unfulfilled promises to construct this road but up till now nothing subsists.

“The last administration in the state started clearing the road but it did not return to complete the project but we are earnestly calling on the incumbent administration to assist us in this direction,” Bobbo said.

The village head noted that after roads, the next most important requirement is electricity as the village seriously needs electricity to process agricultural products adding that such will improve the livelihood of the inhabitants of the area tremendously.

“It will come handy to us because we need electricity to process and even preserve the massive agricultural produce we generate. Even the socioeconomic livelihood of our people will improve tremendously if we get this important infrastructure,” he said.

While appealing to the government to come to the rescue of the only clinic in the area, Bobbo said the clinic which was constructed during governor Abubakar Barde’s administration, more than four decades ago has been abandoned with no staff and equipment.

“Our clinic was constructed during the administration of Abubakar Barde but since then, no staff or equipment were brought. We face grave difficulties taking our pregnant women or critically Ill persons to hospitals especially during the rainy season.

“We want the government to rehabilitate, and equip the clinic with staff so that our people, who are mostly peasant farmers can have some succor and reprieve,” he said.

A visit to the clinic by our reporter revealed a worn out structure reduced to shambles by weather, longevity and neglect. It was also under lock and key without any form of equipment or staff present.

According to Maijimilla, the clinic has been reeling under such neglect since it was built and never served the purpose for which it was built.

Similarly a visit to the only primary school in the area reveals no activity as no teacher was seen. On enquiry, our reporter was told that even the headmaster was not living in the village and teachers are not coming to teach due to the myriad of challenges facing the village.

The Bomu  primary school, a one block of two classroom structure which wore a sharp contrast with the clinic, is itself a subject of neglect and abandonment.

Like the clinic, it has no furniture or any working facility. The roof of the school was partly blown off signalling that even if there are teachers and working materials, learning can’t take place during the rainy season.

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