By Abdulrazaq O Hamzat
Kwara Must Change wishes to bring to public attention once again, that the youths and peaceful people of Baruten Local Government Area of Kwara State have resolved to stay away from participating in any election until their local government is visited with infrastructural
development, particularly in terms of provision of access road to Baruten Local government, provision of electricity, schools and medical facilities.
The people said they are tired of a situation in which many of their children attend schools in the neighboring Benin Republic because there is no school in their own place. They are tired of going to another country for medical attention because there is no hospital in their own local government.
Kwara Must Change observed that, while the Benin Republic axis is fortified with infrastructure such good roads, bridges, electricity and medical amenities, the Nigerian axis remains in a sorry state and the people want this ugly situation changed.
Following Kwara Must Change release on the ugly situation in Baruten Local Government Area of Kwara State last week, in which we quoted a resident of the local government, Ahmed Alhassan Oyoru as saying, “I am from Baruten local government, in Gwanara district specifically. We call ourselves citizens of Benin Republic because we are not sure if we are part of Kwara state. From Gwanara, we travel to Saki in Oyo state for medical treatments and some even die on the road while going’’. ‘’Others go to Benin Republic for medical treatments too,
because we really lack everything at Baruten especially Gwanara district’’. Many have been wondering what the true situation is in Baruten Local Government and if indeed, the people are considering claiming Benin Republic as their country of choice.
Kwara Must Change is hereby stating emphatically that residents of Baruten Local Government are not seeking independence or anything like that; they are only calling government attention to the bad state of things in their area as a result of the absolute neglect and expressing the feeling of a sense of belonging in Benin Republic, where they have greater access to basic amenities such as healthcare, education and others.
However, that doesn’t mean they cannot lay claim to Benin Republic because many had done so already, especially due to the close relationship as well as border crisis.
What is important here is the challenges in Baruten Local Government which are too numerous, the level of neglect and abandonment which is absolute and the hardship which is unbearable.
An indegene of Baruten, Saidu Abdulazeez from guru town appealed to the government to come to their aide now, vowing that should government not do anything before the next election, they will not participate in the election or any future elections. He said there is no road; there is no water, no hospitals, and no electricity. If nothing is done to show us that we are still part of Kwara State, we won’t be participating in any election because the ones we have been
participating in didn’t yield any positive result.
LACK OF ELECTRICITY
According to Kabir Kayode, an indegene of Baruten, ‘’in my town (chikanda), we have never had light for once here since I was born and i am now 23 year old. I never experienced anything like electric light in my town except generators. In 2002/2003, late Governor Alabi Lawal
try to fix our electricity, they installed the poles and everything, but they couldn’t complete it before he left office. However, since 2003 till date, no government ever did anything to complete it; neither did they do anything else. As a matter of fact, people now use those electric poles for spreading cloths.
LACK OF ROAD
Another indigene, Abraham Matthew stated that, ‘’Ilesha to Ogboro road is bad, Ilesha to Bode to Moshi road is bad, Ilesha to Gwanara to Kenu to Tabera road is bad, Kenu to Okuta road bad, Kosubosu to Gwasoro to Kaiama road bad, Gbabe to Gwanara road is equally a no go area. There are many others but those mention links the most important towns in the LG and they are as good as death trap. He also added that, streams and wells are our major sources of water. We wash in the same stream because is there no other option, and then fetch the same water home for use.
LACK OF SCHOOLS
A former resident of Baruten, Ajayi Momoh said, ‘’ I worked in Baruten L. G. A of Kwara State. I served there for more than five years from January 3rd 1992 till Oct. 5, 1997. To be candid, that side of this country is too backward in everything you can think of in term of social amenities. No hospital, no schools. I will mention some big villages where there is nothing like primary school, not to talk of secondary schools. Places like Mose, Gwassoro, Gwani, Sinugwe, Kanu, Tabera, Shinawu, Nungurume, Buwen and many more. I am appealing to the
State and Federal government to please help the people in Baruten;
they are part of this country no matter how closer to Benin Republic
ABSOLUTE UNDER DEVELOPMENT
According to Lasisi Abiodun, I have never been to any community as neglected as Gwanara, no road, no potable water and you can’t see any sign of development there. Sincerely speaking, Kwara state government is not ready to improve the lot of residents of this place. From Ilesha Baruba, there is sign post showing the direction to Gwanara and also giving you the impression that the road is good. My brother, don’t go there because the road will only be good for not more than 5 electric poles, I have tried it and still regretting. I later spent 6hrs for a journey that should be less than 1 hr. My concern is for their traditional ruler, the emir of Gwanara, who they say is a first-class emir, who also collected an SUV from the government instead of demanding for a befitting road for his community. Honestly, only God can help Baruten people, the food basket of kwara state.
YOUTH CORP MEMBERS EQUALLY REACT
A youth corp member, Aramide Kehinde who served in the local government said, ‘’I think they actually wanted to draw the attention of federal government to their plight. All they need is road that will link them to Ilorin and light and hospitals. They are predominantly farmers and can take care of themselves. They are good people. They took good care of us during our NYSC in 2002’’.
Another corp member, Olorunniji Oluwaseyifunm who served in a closeby Local government stated that, ‘’I served (NYSC) in Kaiama local government Area of kwara state. Just few hours from Baruten. These two places are very close to Benin Republic no doubt. No developments in
these areas of kwara state. They are all living a life of outcast. Not only this area but also places like Kaiama, patigi, Woro, Moshegada etc. You need to see the people living in these places. Chronic Malaria everywhere. I think they are only calling the attentions of the government’’.
Iyigho Daniel, A former Corp member in the local government said, they better claim Benin, because i myself was confused if i was still in Kwara state. It was 9 hours journey from Ilorin. I served in Baruten; my place of primary assignment (PPA) was Chikanda. One minute walk,
you will receive text message, welcome to MTN Benin Republic. No good road and we had to cross into Oyo state, facing saki, before entering back to Kwara State. The electric poles in that area has been converted to drying clothes because no source of light. The people are
suffering too much, even when they were supposed to be developed due to the border.
A youth corp member, Ugochukwu Emekoma who served in the local government said, I remember my NYSC days; Corps members posted to Baruten were detached from civilization, the government, and Kwara state in general. One would drive about 7 – 9 hours then from Baturen to Ilorin, the state capital. Most excitingly, they had closer neighbors and ties with Benin Republic. I will therefore suggest we have a decentralized system of governance even at the state level. Awarding road contracts is not enough. The people should be in touch with their leaders. I even wonder if INEC (officials and materials) get to such places.
Richard Anietie Christopher, another youth corp member said, Yikpata is the dread of Baruten. You pray not to be posted there. Feels like serving in the 17th century if you are finally posted there. The Kwara Corpers will understand what I am saying. When you see your name in
Baruten, you have this feeling of “OH I DIDN’T MAKE HEAVEN!
Kwara Must Change recalls that in 2015, it was reported that 16 communities in Baruten Local Council of Kwara State had been taken over by Benin Republic. The communities, according to media reports, included: Kpuru, Woru Wuren Kparu, Ajuba,1, Ajuba 2, Saka Yeruman
Kparu, Ogomne and others.
Speaker of Baruten Local Government Legislative Council, Alhaji Abdullahi Salihu was quoted to have said “I want the government to complete the houses in new Ogomue village for Nigerians that are interested in coming to Nigeria. That would drastically reduce the border crisis that has been our problem for a couple of years now.
“Secondly, I also urge the Federal Government to try to develop the border area to enhance the economic viability of the people in the area. If the government had developed the border community, it would have reduced relocation of people from Nigeria to Benin Republic where
they have social amenities.”
“The nature of the border demarcation has been overtaken by events. Most of the fishermen and farmers do move from one country to the other.
“Whether Nigerians are dominating the place or Beninoires, they will like to claim the place forgetting that there is this international boundary that divides the two countries’’.
Secretary to Baruten Local Council, Alhaji Shero Umar was also quoted to have corroborated the views. He disclosed that he is related to the Emir of Nikki. “My wife, Mujainat is from Benin Republic. The governor of Parakou in Benin Republic is from Yashikira in Baruten Local
Umar urged the government to make life easy for the people living in the border between Nigeria and Benin Republic. “They should provide primary and secondary schools, dispensaries, boreholes to improve the lives of the people in the border community. The local government cannot afford that.”
Kwara Must Change therefore call on government at all levels to immediately address the issues affecting Baruten Local Government Area of Kwara State to avoid making them feel casted out of Kwara State and Nigeria.
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