In the first quarter of 2019, 16 residents of Gosa, along Abuja Airport Road, lost their lives while crossing the street to charge their phones in neighbouring communities. Daily Trust reports on how the community in Nigeria’s federal Capital has fared without electricity since its establishment 70 years ago.
Joy Paul, 18, lived at Gosa Kpanyi Kpanyi community along the Abuja Airport Road. One afternoon she crossed the expressway to charge her phone in a neighbouring community because in the 70 years since Gosa was established, it had never been connected to the national grid. On her way back, a car ran her over, killing her instantly.
Joy is one of 16 people who, according to community members, have died while trying to cross the road to charge their electronic devices.
Her brother Danladi Paul remembers exactly how his sister, who had just graduated secondary school died.
“She had to cross the express to charge her phone. On her way back, she crossed the high speed lane, while crossing the second one, a car rammed into her and killed her,” he said.
If they had had electricity in Gosa, Danladi reckons that his sister would probably still be alive today.
In the nearly 400 rundown houses houses in this community, not far from the Centenary City, many residents have lost kin trying to cross the expressway to access electricity. One of them is Habila Dauda, whose elder brother, Danlami, also died in similar circumstances.
“My brother was hit by a car along the express,” Habila said. “People around the community noticed he belonged to Gosa. They dropped his body by the roadside. We now picked the corpse and brought him back to the village and buried him.”
Youth secretary of Gosa community, Joseph Dokayi, confirmed the number of casualties recorded in this year alone saying, “We have lost over 16 persons in the first quarter of this year 2019 in the process of crossing the road to charge their phones, yet our cries have not been heard by the government.”
An elder in the community, David Danamu, said that Gosa community has suffered enough due to the absence of electricity while neighbouring communities are on the national grid.
“I was born here,” he said. “For over 50 years, no electricity. My father lived here till he passed on, yet light has never come.”
He said that the community has lost children and loved ones because they had to cross the road to the neighboring communities of Gosa, Angwan Tiv and Otoge to buy anything, to charge phones and even foodstuff.
“We have written several letters to AEDC [Abuja Electricity Distribution Company] to come and connect electricity to our community, Dokayi, the youth secretary, said. “We never got any response. Only our community doesn’t have electricity among all the communities along airport road.”
For many years, all Gosa has received are promises by the government and politicians seeking votes but no power. Until three years ago when the Abuja Municipal Area Council installed power poles without cables. The community’s hopes have been dashed as the poles have remained abandoned since.
Daniel Baba, secretary of the community, said the poles were installed by the AMAC administration of Abdullahi Adamu Candido.
“We have a lot of challenges bothering us in this community, but we don’t even know who to tell our problems to anymore. We feel they don’t take us serious anymore,” he said. “All they need is our votes and once they have it, we don’t see them again till another time.”