#BounceExclusive: Govt’s N5,000, School Feeding Forbidden In This Community?
Have you ever visited a community in Nigeria and it will appear like you were dreaming or must have gone back to the past by some 30 years or more?
This is the real Wakanda kingdom portrayed in Black Panther and the difference is that it is everything that is opposite of the technological advancement seen in the movie that many said was a shadow of Africa's untapped endowments.
It is called Ugbedomagwu and it is in Igalamela/Odolu Local Government Area of Kogi State under Kogi East Senatorial District.
It is a community that will leave you wondering if it is recognised by the government as part of Nigeria, but surprisingly politicians still visit the place to campaign, recycling their unfulfilled promises.
Ugbedomagwu is an over four-hour journey from Lokoja, the capital of Kogi State, but the time is mostly because of the bad road within Ajaokuta and Geregu power plant location.
That is a story for another day, but it is a sign that the government is losing touch with communities in that axis.
It is a community of over 3,000 dwellers who are mostly farmers, with so much of time to use for farming because they are deprived of access to some other basic amenities that make life interesting and which we can invest our time in.
The amount of Cashew nuts lifted from the community in its season, is unimaginable.
Nuts from there are exported out of Nigeria, they told Bounce News, correspondent, Williams Osewezina.
Despite the community's exploits in farming, education, electricity, health facility and mobile network have remained luxuries that residents wonder when they would get to them.
ActionAid had provided the community a primary school block for children, but that school building is a playground for goats and sheep.
Bounce News met with the head of the community referred to as the Madakin and he shared a lot about his community's needs.
First, the education system in the community has collapsed.
The primary school is not functional because teachers have refused to stay in the community where every dweller is cut off from the entire interesting world of internet.
“Several of them have come, but they do not stay. They will be here for few weeks and leave, apparently because of the electricity and mobile network issues,” he said.
The community has manged to build a secondary school, but in its 18 years of existence, no Senior Secondary III graduate has come out of it.
They all leave the community after the Junior secondary School III examination to further in other communities where the system of education is better and consistent.
The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari had said it would pay the very poor 5,000 Naira and also feed school pupil. The programme has started but has not apparently reached most of the very poor in the society.
The Madakin also explained that the government’s 5,000 Naira stipend or school feeding programme had not reached the community.
He said it would be of great assistance to parents that have had to send their children to neighbouring communities like Ejule which is about one hour drive from Ugbademagwu to study.
Parents have had to rent apartments for their older children who have manged to go through a private primary school in Ugbedomagwu or give their younger ones out to relatives in the city for them to get educated.
When Bounce News approached a young boy who identified himself as Mabisia and asked why he was not in school, he said there was no school and that he had to go to farm.
This practice has made education a luxury in the community, undermining the Sustainable Development Goal of the United nations.
A parent, Hauwa Salami, who has been trained by ActionAid, said all her children schooled outside the community and hardly find it interesting to stay in the community because of the deprivations.
She hopes the government will go beyond just the MDG water project that saved them from walking a distance to a shallow stream to fetch water for their daily needs.
“Our people who want education so much travel to other communities a bit far from here where they have good schools to study," she said.
"Lack of other basic infrastructure is affecting the development of our community that is over 300 years old," she lamented.
How long will they wait?
The government has a lot to do to bring education to the community and other infrastructure needed to make life meaningful for residents and connect them to the world.
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