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Raging River Ngadda-Bul cuts off access to school and hospital

5 September 2022
Reading time: 5 minutes

Residents of the Fulatari community in Maiduguri, Borno State, have been cut off from accessing education and healthcare services and are pleading with the state’s government to construct a drainage system, a road and a bridge because the raging River Ngadda-Bul is making it impossible for them to get to the hospital and school in the neighbouring community of Zannari.

Mustapha Mohammed Ka’ande, a Fulatari resident, told RNI that the water from the river was flowing very strongly this year, so powerfully, in fact, that the people, mostly farmers, feared they might drown if they tried to cross the river by boat or canoe. It was also affecting children who could not get to school, as well as the whole community which could not access healthcare.

“We are afraid our children will drown while trying to get to the other side of the river. One of the problems is that going by boat is the easiest and most direct route for our kids to go to school and it’s the quickest way we can get people who need healthcare to get to the hospital. It’s okay for now because the children are on holiday, but they will have to be back at school in six to 10 days.

“We can’t get to hospital because the river has cut us off from neighbouring communities, such as Zannari, which is where our community goes to the hospital for treatment and that is where the school is. If someone gets seriously ill and it’s an emergency, they will be in trouble because we will not be able to get them to the hospital in time. If you stand here, you can actually see the hospital but we can’t get there because of the raging river.

“Sometimes we have to pay ₦500 or ₦700 for tricycle riders [Keke Napep] to take us the long way round through Abujan Talakawa so that we can get to the hospital. But it takes too long if there is an emergency.”

Mohammed said the hospital functioned well and provided good health services. It had excellent medical facilities and had an ambulance and plenty of effective medicines and drugs.

“But since the River Ngadda-Bul had overflowed its banks and there is so much water, we have not had access to the hospital for the past 32 days. There are many internally displaced persons [IDPs] in this community and we all depend on the hospital for medical services.

“The community is pleading with the government to construct a major drainage system, a road and a bridge between the Fulatari community and other communities, such as Zannari, so that we can easily access the hospital to get help if we have an accident or for treatment if we fall ill. And it will also enable our children to go to school without having to cross the river by boat. It would be an important route for traders, pupils and motorists not only from the Fulatari community but also the neighbouring communities of Abuja, Line-Hadiza, Dala 27 and Suleimanti.”

Mohammed Bulama, also a resident of Fulatari, said: “Of course, we were very pleased when the government built the hospital and school in this area. But I don’t think anyone expected River Ngadda-Bul to flow so strongly that it would cut us off from Zannari and, by doing so, it has made healthcare and schooling inaccessible.

“Sometimes we used a canoe to access the hospital but now we can’t use it anymore because the water is flowing so strongly that we are scared it will capsize. It has happened before. People have gone missing, drowning as they tried to cross the river. So, using a canoe when the River Ngadda-Bul is in full flow is definitely not a solution.

“The place where the river has cut us off is an important route for not only the residents of Fulatari but also for inhabitants of neighbouring communities, such as Goni Chariri, Masa Mallambe, Abuja Talakawa and Bakassi.

“We urgently need a bridge to be built between Fulatari and Zannari so that we can access the hospital and the school. This is extremely important because if our children are not going to school, it will affect their education. And all communities need effective healthcare. If there is an accident or some other emergency, such as a sudden serious illness or if a woman goes into labour or needs other care during her pregnancy, we are stuck.”

Bulama said the community was also worried that if there was an outbreak of water-borne diseases, such as cholera and typhoid, most of the inhabitants would be affected because they would not be able to get treatment at the hospital. They were also concerned that there could be a breakout of malaria. “There are lots of areas that have stagnant water left over from the rain, which we know are ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Malaria is especially dangerous for pregnant women, infants and young children.”

If a bridge was not built soon, many people in the community could get ill and even die because they would not be able to reach the hospital for treatment, he said, adding that it was a serious concern and he hoped the government would realise that a bridge was a necessity.


About the author

Mbodou Hassane Moussa

Journaliste de formation et de profession. Passionné par l'écriture, le digital et les médias sociaux, ces derniers n'ont aucun secret pour lui. Il a embrassé très tôt l'univers des médias et de la Communication. Titulaire d'une Licence en journalisme et d'un Master en Management des projets, Mbodou Hassan Moussa est éditeur Web du journal en ligne Toumaï Web Médias. Aujourd'hui, il est devenu Webmaster à la Radio Ndarason internationale et collabore à la réalisation du journal en langue française et dialecte Kanembou.