Lack of a road network in Illela, a remote village in Bursari Local Government Area of Yobe State, subjects locals to untold hardships, WikkiTimes learnt.
The village, according to BBC Hausa is 27 kilometres away from Gashua, a town which is a few miles below the convergence of the Hadejia River and the Jama’are River.
During rainy season, Illela turns into an island — surrounded by water — making movements impossible except by boats. And that also is a great challenge, especially for sick people and pregnant women.
Shafi’u Salisu, a resident of the village lives there with his wife and two children — Zainab and Fatima. He was lucky they were born in the dry season.
Salisu’s brother wasn’t lucky like him, according to BBC Hausa.
“When Hajara, my brother’s wife, was about to give birth, we took her on a donkey to the river bank, and then we put her in a boat to cross to the other side where we found a car that took us to the hospital,” Salisu narrated.
The only clinic in the community was built in 1999, according to Salisu. It was later abandoned and became a playground for children, he had said.
Salisu explained that the locals were disturbed during Hajara’s ordeal because it was during the rainy season when the flood takes over the community. “Pregnant women don’t go to the clinics during the period and that’s why they encounter a lots of challenges during childbirth,” he stated.
CHOLERA OUTBREAK CLAIMED LIVES
In 2021, there was an outbreak of cholera in Illela and that worsened its situation, according to Salisu. “At that time we shed a lot of tears, and it happened during the rainy season,” he recalled.
According to him, some of the patients were being carried in local coffins, others on beds to the hospital. “That was when I lost my grandfather, Mallam Rabi’u on the way to the hospital, my master lost his daughter on the wheel cart on the way to the hospital and there was my neighbour Mallam Usman and his little daughter also died before reaching the hospital…”
The catastrophe claimed 30 lives, approximately. He added that the nearest town from Illela is about 27 kilometres distance. “From Illela to Garun Dole there is a distance of 2 kilometres, and from Garun Dole to Gashua there is a distance of 25 kilometres,” he explained, adding the only culvert linking them to the adjoining towns was submerged by floods about 10 years ago and It was constructed about two decades ago.
The community is not only suffering from a bad road, Salisu told BBC Hausa, but lack of schools and medical centres. “The children in Illela have no access to education, they don’t go to school,” he said.
According to him, two classrooms were built in the village in 1976, but the roof was blown off by the wind living them in tatters. However, he said the school was renovated in 1999, but it is now in deplorable condition. “Now the school has been demolished; there is no place for the students to stay,” Salisu said.
“Our elders went to the local government and complained, but nothing happened. I can’t recall how many times we went to the local government to complain about the road, the health centre and about the school,” he said, adding they are tired of empty promises from politicians.
Salisu noted that there are two polling units in the community and politicians often visit the area for campaigns because of votes coming from the community. “Yet they do not fulfil the promises they make,” he lamented.
At press time, an enquiry sent to Mammam Mohammed, Director of Press for Yobe State governor had not been responded to.