A community in the Kuje Area Council in Abuja, Pegi has taken it upon itself to track government projects in its area, saying their partnership with a civil society group, PRIMORG has been beneficial in this regard.
The community under the Pegi Estate Community Development Association (PECDA), held a Town Hall Meeting to seek the intervention of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) over insecurity and lack of development in the community.
The resettlement community came into existence in 2006 when over 17,000 citizens whose houses were demolished in Karimu were relocated to the current location in Pegi.
This weekend’s special community town hall meeting was organized in collaboration with the Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development (PRIMORG) and 104.5 Love FM.
Highlighting the plight of the residents, PECDA Chairman, Taiwo Aderibigbe said that poor infrastructure and insecurity issues facing the community are occasioned by negligence or abandonment by the government.
Aderibigbe revealed that going by the original design of the community, Pegi was meant to be the most beautiful community in the FCT but has fallen short due to sheer negligence by those in authority.
He lamented that the whole community continues to suffer over the non-completion of the Pegi-Dafara road after over a decade of award of the contract while noting that the increase in the use of drugs by youths in the community has become more worrisome at a time kidnapping is also on the rise.
He, however, appealed to parents whose children have become drug addicts to encourage them to come forward for a rehabilitation programme organized by the community.
Aderibigbe singled out the Executive Director of PRIMORG, Okhiria Agbonsuremi for praise for his efforts in ensuring the effective tracking of development projects in the community.
He said the return of the contractor to the Pegi road abandoned for over ten years after the contract was awarded could not have been possible without the guidance and advocacy by PRIMORG.
He also lauded the efforts of the Police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) in ensuring that the community overcomes security challenges.
“I must thank you (Agbonsuremi) and other members of staff of PRIMORG.
“My sincere appreciation to the Divisional Police Officer, Pegi,Magit Solomon, and Chief Superintendent of NSCDC, Michael Olarenwaju for your efforts in developing and securing the lives and properties of over 17,000 residents of this community,” Aderibigbe stated.
On his part, the Chairman of Kuje Area Council, Alhaji Abdullahi Suleiman Sabo, was represented by Hon. Nuhu Tanko, reassured the community of his administration’s resolve to ensure their challenges are addressed.
Participants at the meeting and residents of the community took time to have their say during the auspicious occasion.
Bashir Olasupo, during his keynote address, encouraged residents of the community to look out for each other more, and be observant when it comes to the security of their community. He lamented the growing trust deficit by Nigerians on the Police, and said until every Nigerian takes ownership of security, Nigeria will continue to be challenged by insecurity.
Olasupo suggested more engagement between the Pegi community and security agencies. Adding that Pegi community can join PCRC; a community policing-based organization established by the Leadership of Nigeria Police Force in 1984 to foster partnership between the Police and the community to enhance security.
Some residents of the community raised the following concerns:
Ruth Bature said: “At the point of resettling the residents in 2006, there was no provision of infrastructure and basic amenities for the dwellers of the community.”
Agba Martin said: “The lingering road construction in Pegi is aiding and abetting kidnapping in the community. For four days now we don’t have a power supply, so AEDC is also aiding kidnapping by not giving us electricity; and unfortunately, kidnappers working with informants living among residents.
“We are still being extorted by paying for electricity and living largely in darkness, our community is in dire need of a hospital. We need the government to act now.”
It will be recalled that PRIMORG it radio programs drew the attention of the government and the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) to the poor infrastructure and fraud perpetrated by some AEDC officials through estimated billing in the community; efforts which led to the electricity company providing meters to consumers and compelling contractors of abandoned Pegi-Dafara road back to the site.