The Take It Back (TIB) movement Abuja branch led a rally at the Gwagwalada Area Council secretariat on Friday 5 January. The demonstration, which was organised in conjunction with the Concerned Citizens of Kutunku, a community-based association in the Area Council was a protest against the deplorable condition of Kutunku market and abattoir roads in the area.
The youths also threatened to shut down the Gwagwalada Area Council Secretariat and office of the Minister of FCT, Nyesom Wike if their demands for the rehabilitation of these roads are not met forthwith.
The placards-carrying protesters which included members of the SWL marched in their numbers through Kutunku market road which has been in bad shape for years.
Some inscriptions on the placards read; Save Gwagwalada Now; We Can’t Continue Like This; Repair Market and Abattoir Road Now; We Can’t Keep Silent and Be Suffering; We Deserve Better Treatment.
The youths condemned the lack of concern of the Chairman Gwagwalada Area Council, Alhaji Abubakar Jibrin Giri for the plight of the residents in the area. TIB had written to the Area Council Chair on 6 November 6 2023 requesting a detailed and up-to-date record of federal allocations received by the Area Council area and its internally generated revenue over the last year, to establish the fact that the Council had enough resources to repair the broken down roads. Despite invoking provisions of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2011, there was no response from the Council.
Addressing the protesters the TIB Secretary of Organisation and Mobilization, Comrade Manasseh Ben Paul said youths in the Area Council would no longer tolerate neglect of their neighbourhoods by the government. The welfare of the people, he added must be prioritised. But the huge amount of Internally Generated Revenue ( IGR ) coming to the Area Council is rather being used to improve the quarters where rich people live, while the poor masses’ neighbourhoods are abandoned.
He then called on the area council chairman to take the peaceful protest as a message and take necessary action on the roads adding that the next line of action of the group is to mobilize the residents to occupy and shut-down the council Secretariat and the office of the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The protesters used the rally to sensitize residents in the Area Council on the need to brace up for and participate fully in further struggle. The power of the people, they pointed out, is greater than the people in power, with Manasseh adding that: “when the people take over the streets, all oppressors will run away.”
This is the time to fix the roads in poor working-class quarters in Gwagwalada. The bad roads contribute significantly to the adverse impact of flash floods during the rainy season which claim lives. This is also the time to demand accountability and transparency in running the affairs of Gwagwalada Area Council. The resources of the Area Council must be used for the benefit of the many and not a few.
by Ben Paul MANNASEH