With no access road, potable water, or other conveniences of modern life, Dunawa community in Katsina State is remote from civilisation, but some succour came recently from the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Dr. Badiya Hassan Mashi. Francis Sardauna reports
Dunawa village of Gana-Jigawa is an agrarian community in Mashi Local Government Area of Katsina State. But this community, which has over 500 residents and 1000 livestock, is cut off from civilisation.
The community lacks access road and other basic amenities, such as electricity, drinkable water, health centre, and schools. THISDAY also discovered that the people still live in mud and thatched houses with little or no protection against inclement weather. Being close to the shores of a stream, the community suffers constant flooding during rainy seasons.
Pre-natal care is alien to pregnant women there, as no hospital exists anywhere close. The sick ones whose cases defy traditional medicine often travel as far as Gana-Jigawa and Mashi to seek medical care or surrender to fate.
Farm produce, according to farmers in the community, perish seasonally due to lack of access roads, which they lamented, has not attracted the attention of successive governments since they started an agitation for better conditions in 1966.
Three Centuries Water Source
Meanwhile, the over 500 inhabitants of Dunawa village depend solely on a local well sunk by late Mallam Aminu Dunawa about 300 years ago, as source of water for drinking and other domestic use. Expectedly, they frequently suffer from waterborne diseases.
The well was said to have been renovated 33 years ago by late Hassan Mashi, the father of the incumbent Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Dr. Badiya Hassan Mashi, to assuage the suffering of the residents and to ensure that they drink hygienic water. But it collapsed on August 5.
A resident of the community, Sale Dogo, who spoke to our correspondent on what he described as “total negligence” of the village, decried successive governments’ insensitivity to his domain. Dogo said: “We are forced to send our children to other places to go to school at a very tender age. This has made our children to be wayward because they lack parental care where they are because we have to hire houses for them.
“All our children are outside and many of them have joined bad gangs and they never come home with good results to their parents. We have children in this community that can fill three primary schools. But they are all in Mashi Local Government government and other places. We don’t have health centre in this community. We are an endangered species.”
Another 66-year-old resident of the community, Hafsatu Dunawa, said, “We are peasant farmers but for all our toils, we seem not to be getting anything meaningful from it because there is no road to evacuate our farm produce. There is no water to drink and there is not healthcare centre for the people. The education here is almost zero. Young men with good future end up doing farming. Even the farming they engage in is not profitable because there are no roads.”
She lamented how pregnant women in the community suffer on daily basis before they give birth to their babies, stressing that most of them have to travel to far away Mashi to seek medical care, a journey she stressed made some of them suffer complications. She, however, called on the government of Governor Aminu Masari to come to aid of the community by providing roads, portable water, market, schools, hospital and electricity.
Water is the lifeblood of every household in Dunawa, as they depend on the well for critical purposes such as drinking, irrigation, livestock farming, sanitation, and other household chores. But accessing it is a challenge to the residents. Women mostly bear the brunt of the deplorable conditions in Dunawa, as they are saddled with taking care of their families and animals.
However, it was joy galore in the sleepy community on August 8, as succour came to the residents following the renovation of the over 300-year-old well to tackle their age long challenge of lack of potable water by the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development.
Mashi, who donated thousands of naira for the project because of her unflinching support for urban and rural dwellers within and outside Katsina state, said the renovation of the well was necessary considering the hardship the inhabitants of the village were facing. The commissioner, during her on-the-spot visit to the village to ascertain the level of work done, could not gain access to the project site with her car due to lack of roads. She parked some distance to the site and walked for about one kilometre.
In fact, the 18-seater bus that was conveying journalists and some staff of the ministry to the village also stopped due to lack of access roads, thereby forcing them to join the commissioner in walking to the project site.
Speaking to THISDAY at the project site, the commissioner explained that she decided to renovate the well to help in ameliorating the water problem of the community, stressing that there is no life without water.
According to her, “The people of this community and the neighbourhood are numbering about 500 benefiting from this well and without it they must probably leave this area in search of the precious commodity elsewhere.
“There are about 100 livestock in this community that also drink water from the well. It is the responsibility of the government to look into the problems of its people, especially those at the grassroots.
“We sat down with the people of this community to discuss on problems affecting them but they said their major problem was water and that necessitated my intervention. The last intervention was done by our father 33 years ago.
“There are about three dams being created by the state government, so the state government is trying by providing portable water to the people of the state. For those that cannot reach the dams, they must be supported by traditional means.”
While assuring residents of the community that the state government under the leadership of Governor Aminu Bello Masari would soon come to their aid with the provision of primary healthcare, access road and primary school, Mashi charged the people to protect the renovated well.
On his part, the APC Chairman of Gana-Jigawa, Alhaji Sale Dogo commended the commissioner for remembering the community and expressed joy that the water problem which they suffer has come to an end. The party chieftain, however, appealed to the beneficiaries to ensure proper maintenance of the well, adding that the project if maintain would go a long way to solve the perennial water problem of the community.