Africa Media Development Foundation (AMDF) on Wednesday, 23rd May, 2018 led a team of journalists to Juji community in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State, North West Nigeria.
The field trip organized by AMDF was part of activities for the “Development Reporting Project”, aimed at exposing participating journalists to see firsthand situations in underserved communities and report with the aim of improving living conditions of such communities in the long run through interventions from government and well meaning individuals and organizations.
Juji community is about 14km away from Sabo Express way in Sabon Tasha, Kaduna and has existed for over 4 decades but the community with a population of over 6,000 people still battles to access basic social amenities.
During the trip, the team discovered that the community is in dire need of a health care facility, a good road network and an upgrade in its public school.
A worrisome sight at the Juji LEA Primary school is the single classroom that contains the primary 5 and 6 pupils; not demarcated but one grade backing the other. Primary 5 has 26 pupils while Primary 6 has about 20 pupils. Same situation was seen with Nursery 1 and 2.
A teacher in the school, Dankande Kumasi noted that government had provided a block of two classrooms and through community efforts they had an additional block with 4 classrooms. However, the class rooms are still not sufficient for the pupils so classes 5 and 6 are in the same classroom so also Nursery 1 and 2.
A standard school ideally should consider the safety and health of its pupils especially the girl child who is prone to infection and provide toilet facilities and potable water. But this is not the case in Juji as the pupils are exposed to the hazard of going to the bush and uncompleted buildings to defecate.
She said, “In the whole of this school, there is no single toilet for the pupils and the teachers. The pupils use bushes and uncompleted buildings around to ease themselves while teachers will have to rely on neighboring houses when they are pressed.
“There is also no source of water supply to the school, we still rely on neighbors. Our classes are not secured as some are bare without windows, not to mention the fact that the teachers have no staff room for the nine (9) teachers in the school.”
A stroll into the head teacher’s office revealed a small empty office. Kumasi noted that the table and chair for the head teacher’s office had to be moved to Class 4 being the only classroom with lock and key for safety of their documents.
The Chairman Parent Teachers Association, Hosea Bawa confirmed that from the last statistics taken the school had about 530 pupils, though more pupils have enrolled recently. He noted that the block of classroom constructed by the community was at a point renovated by Youth Corps members serving with the Kaduna Refining & Petrochemical Company (NNPC/KRPC) Kaduna which is few kilometers away from the school.
Though there are private schools in the community, many of the parents cannot afford to send their children there for financial reasons hence they depend largely on the LEA primary school.
Women, especially pregnant women also face their share of challenges due to the unavailability of a primary health care facility. Pregnant women rely on a health facility in Sabo which is 14km away to access antenatal care. When faced with impromptu labor, the burden falls on a nurse who resides in the community. Of which in most cases she is at her duty post in another community far from Juji.
Speaking with the team, the nurse Esther Hosea said “the work is usually overwhelming as I am the only trained personnel in the community and there is no health facility. When I am around I help with issues that arise at home and when there are complications beyond me we rush to facilities in town.
“The situation is indeed overwhelming as last year, 2017 we lost 7 women to due to pregnancy related issues, and this year two women have so far had miscarriages. Some of these would have been averted if we had a health care facility”, she said.
A community leader, Mr Dauda Maisamari called on government to do more to come to the aid of the community as the children in the community mostly rely on the public primary school for education.
He also called on the government of Kaduna state to put in more efforts to provide a health facility for the community and construct the road linking Juji to the Sabo community and the Eastern bye pass. Noting that during the rainy season, the only bridge linking the community to town usually gets over flooded cutting off the community from other parts of the city.