Banono: A Forsaken Kaduna Community Dying In Silence Without The World Knowing
By Sola Ojo
Banono, a Community in Kufana District, Kajuru Local government area of Kaduna State is one of the communities that felt the heat of killers invasion in the unrest that befell the local council a few months ago.
Banono is about 20 kilometers from Mararaban Kajuru and approximately 60 kilometers from Kaduna, the State capital. The people in this agrarian community with population of about 5,000, do not have any essential facility that can show they are part and parcel of about nine million people that make up the State
Traveling along the pumppy, rocky and narrow lonely rough part that lead to the community calls for serious determination and alertnnes of all the senses to guide against falling into dangerous ditches on the zig-zag road. It is practically not motorable during raining season.
Apart from the bad road, these people are completely detached from the rest of the world as they are not connected to any mobile communication network. For a few hours this correspondent spent in this community, he was incommunicado as no network cellular for calls or internet service was available.
This is a singular reason while it was difficult for them to get help during the three previous attacks they claimed to have survived which left ten dead, several injured and property destroyed. This community was attacked in July 2017, July 20118 and April 2019 according to the Village Head of Angwan Aku, John Makaddas.
According to this traditional leader, the major challenges included lack of comprehensive health care facility which to them is the ultimate, portable water, good road and communication network to reach out to security agents when necessary.
“We have a clustered communities here – Banono, Angwan Tsoro, Angwan Akutu, Angwan Dutse and Angwan Makeri. The occupants are majorly Adara tribe except a few of Fulani people that are living with us.
“We have survived three deadly attacks. In July 2017, at about 5:30 am, we were hearing gunshots and seeing people running home from town. Again, in July 2018, they came again and attack us. Nine people were killed in that attack. In April 2019, we witnessed a repeat which left a woman dead.
“For now, we thank God the attack has stopped. We know government and others are trying to restore lasting peace in the State which we appreciate. For us here, if we have good road, hospital, portable water and communication network, then, we can boldly say we are living and not just existing.
“You can imagine, the whole community rely on the only one borehole that was meant for the pupils in the primary school for water supply. Even before this borehole was sank by RUWASSA, our people rely on wells and streams around depending on the distance.
“When we come to the issue of health care, we have a clinic somewhere. However, because of the distance and bad road especially during raining season between here and Mararaban Kajuru where there is a better hospital by our standard, some women have died on their way to the hospital.
“If person fall sick beyond what the family can manage, if such a person is rushed to the clinic and it is discovered that the the health workers there cannot handle it, we then move to Mararaban Kajuru and it is usually between that period some would die,” he added.
Kauna Fidelis is a mother of three. This young woman said, she had all her three children at home with the help of ‘experienced’ women within. This she promised on lack of nearby health care center and cost of transportation to and from Mararaban Kajuru.
“I have three children. I had all of them at home. I don’t also go for antenatal care because of the distance. The only available means of transportation is ‘Okada’ where you will pay N600 to and fro. You can imagine the stress if you are a pregnant woman especially during child labour.
“It was even worse during the curfews imposed on the local government during the crisis. It was a bitter experience to lose a loved ones to crisis they knew nothing about. Some stories are better left untold,” she submitted.
Another woman, who coincidentally had her three children at home, Samson Sarah, also gave distance, bad road and cost of transportation as reasons for not accessing medical help all through her pregnancy processes up till delivery time.
Patrick Daniel, a fathernarrated what it is like when a woman is trying to give live in Banono, “whenever my wife is pregnant, I’m always disturbed because of absence of health facility in the community. As a result, our women here hardly attend antenatal.
“What we do is that, when apregnancy is eight month old, the woman would start taking special herbs to ensure she delievers safely and God has been helping us because He knows our predicament.
“If the child labour comes with complications, we carry the woman on bike to the hospital in Kasuwan Magani. both the mother and the child are given herbs which helps the woman deliver safely and child to grows.
“Like I said, we don’t like going to the hospital because we don’t have one in our community. Secondly, transport fare to the nearest hospital cost me and my wife 1,200 naira per trip.”
A source within the community said, “we have written several complaints letters to the State and local government authorities for possible intervention. The good thing about Banono is that, it is cited in-between other communities.
“The Chairperson of Kajuru Local Government, Mrs Felicia Kyomson, who claimed ignorant on the existence of Banono told the media that she would visit us to know what we are going through. Up till now, we are still waiting for her.
Director, Primary Healthcare, Kaduna State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Iliyasu Neyu, noted that, Government was working at all levels to comply with the world health organisation’s standard of providing health facility to citizens at every 5 kilometres radius.
In addition to health and road infrastructure, a teacher with UBE Primary School, Banono hinted that, the school was built a few decades ago through community effort because of the need to educate their children.
The school, according to available record, has five teachers to teach the 377 pupils while those in early child education (ECE) 1&2, were merged together due to inadequate class and furniture facilities. That means pupils in this category are not learning what they should.
Speaking further on the plight of Banono, another son of the land, David Akawu noted that, none of the teachers are living in Banono.
“You know, because of the distance from Banono to the Mararaban Kajuru junction, you will spend N300 to come to this school and spend another N300 to go back. You can see what it means to be a teacher here. We are not even sure if they are coming regularly.
“None of the classrooms has ceiling. So, during hash weather, our children have to bear the pain. The teachers are not motivated and all that. Government should provide incentives like accommodation for teachers posted to villages so they can impact knowledge the way they should,” he opined.
However, after need assessment of Kajuru Local government, Christ Embassy through its Foundation visited and renovated a block of two classrooms at UBE Primary School, Banono, aiming at ameliorating the plight of pupils in that school.
The Ministry, through Pastor Chris Oyakhilome’s Foundation International in conjunction with Inner City Mission for Children, also empowered 100 Banono children with school uniforms, sandals, backpacks, writing materials, clothing and food stuffs for their parents in its “Back to School” campaign programme.
Pastor in charge of Christ Embassy, Northwest Zone 1, Marcel Obode said, the programme was designed to reach out to less priviledged children especially those in hard-to-reach communities like Banono.
“we have only brought a token to these people after a need assessment was conducted. We have seen that the need is enormous and what we have just done is just the beginning.
“After leaving here, we are going to see how we can assess what we have done and build on it. Chris Oyakhilome Foundation is doing a lot around the world. The whole idea is to touch lives especially, those that seem to have been forgotten in the society,” he said.
Call to action.
The federal government, the Kaduna State government, the Chikun local government, Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, UNICEF, Save the Children International and other spirited individuals across the world are therefore called upon to save these community for the sake of children and poor their poor parents.
By Sola Ojo