Tag: abuja

Fuel Scarcity in Abuja: The Aftermath, and Fate of Black marketers

The queues on the street of Abuja have disappeared and the fuel scarcity is not as worrisome as it was a few weeks back. However, one cannot say if this is temporary or we should brace up for another possible fuel scarcity – perhaps a worse one, anytime from now.

Most fuel stations are now discharging Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) popularly known as Petrol or Fuel, though most of them use one or two pump points even where there are as many as 20 discharge pump points. This means people who need the products may not be attended to immediately but what is a 5 minutes wait compared to a 5 hours queue? experienced at the peak of the scarcity.

The big question now is, why are black-market fuel sellers still lining up across some parts of Abuja city, with kegs filled with fuel and waving short pipes? On March 30, Media For Community Change Initiative tried to put a human face to the problem and understand the rationale behind the black marketers and their trade.After so much struggle, the young man understood that we were just asking what his name was and he replied, “Musbahu” without a smile as he tried to lift the 10 litres keg filled with fuel. Even with the help of an interpreter, he couldn’t tell what his age was, it didn’t seem to matter to him but he couldn’t be more than 12 years. We tried to ask if he was working for a Boss but it felt like the young boy was programmed to only tell the price of his trade “Na ₦3 500” and propose a reduced price of ₦2 800. Nothing else!


Just a few metres away, another young boy runs towards us with his 10 litres keg (popularly called jerrican), the keg boldly bears his name freshly written with a black marker, “Abdullahi”. He lifts and opens the content trying to convince me, “Oga, na better one!” He needed to do this for two reasons, the colour of the fuel in his keg was different from the others, slightly turning black. Secondly, he must have heard how weary people became with multiple news of vehicles engines being knocked off due to bad fuel.“What will you be doing if you aren’t here selling fuel”, I tried to ask him after confirming his name was truly Abdullahi as written on the keg. “Shouldn’t you be in school?” I sputtered in a mix of English and Hausa. He managed to explain “na my transport to go house I dey find, Oga,” there was silence and he walked away after a while!Awalu, another black marketer explained how just recently he has taken up this trade, “Me, I bi conductor for Utako, if work dey now I dey go – Lagos, Kano, Zamfara, anywhere.” He also agreed that the black-market business, “na quick money”, yet he would prefer to be gainfully employed elsewhere.Along the Airport Expressway, a few kilometres away from the City Gate, another black-market fuel seller crossed the road in a rush and almost pushed his 10 litres keg through the window. Suleiman was more expressive and seemed jovial. Couldn’t be that he had made much sales already at this early hour of the day; perhaps, this new line of work had brought in lots of returns lately.

When a black-market fuel seller tells you a 10-litre keg of fuel is worth ₦3 500, you do the maths and wonder why he is making a profit of over 100%, if he bought it at the standard cost of ₦165 per litre. After some haggling with Suleiman – we had a bit of back and forth. What I figured was that when black market seller reluctantly agrees to sell 10-litres of fuel for ₦2 800 or ₦2 500 but what they don’t tell you is that they bought at ₦2 200 or ₦2400 from the fuel attendants and only a paltry profit between ₦300 to ₦600 is made for every 10-litre black market fuel sold. At the peak of the fuel scarcity, it was possible to sell as many as 30 kegs at ₦3 500 each. So much profit – for an illegal trade!In an attempt to fill the puzzle of where the source of the constant flow of the black market fuel comes from, we tried to ask some fuel attendants, none of them was willing to share any thoughts. All we could get from them was, “we nur dey sell for keg” and it is not uncommon to see some attendants charging at people walking into the premises with kegs, “don’t bring that jerrican come here o.”

Over the last 8 weeks, this fuel scarcity has had its toll on various sectors of the economy. Small businesses had to resort to unscrewing generator tanks to get fuel, explaining why the cost of goods and services rendered by SMEs have shot up. In Abuja, we have seen transport costs rise by about 100%, in some cases 200%. No sector has been spared!

As we take in a breath of fresh air and smile at fuel attendants when we drive through the fuel stations, we dread seeing Nigerians back on the street, queuing for fuel or resorting to black market sources to fuel their day-to-day activities. So at the back of our minds, we ask ourselves, have we addressed the root of the problem? Will this be the end of fuel scarcity or should Nigerians brace up for another – perhaps a worse fuel scarcity, anytime from now?

Written by: Seyifunmi Adebote and Jimoh Oluwatobi Segun 

Photographs by: Kim Dashong

WATER POVERTY IN ZOKUTU, ABUJA, NIGERIA

Beyond the radiance and lushness of Nigeria’s Federal Capital City – Abuja, some communities around the city centre live in abject water poverty which has greatly posed serious health-related challenges to the lives of the people and continually limit economic growth in the country.

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Water Source for Zokutu Community, Abuja


Surprisingly, there are several villages, shanties, and slums that lie around civilization yet lack of basic amenities and infrastructures to reflect national development. In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that 1 in 3 people, that is, 2.4 billion, live without sanitation facilities while 663 million people still lack access to safe and clean drinking water. In 2017, this estimate changed to 2.3 billion people without sanitation facilities and 844 million people without access to safe and clean drinking water.

Zokutu community located in Kuje Area Council, one of the six area councils in Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory is included in these statistics. Clean water is considered a luxury by the residents of Zokutu community exemplifying the enigma of deficiency in the midst of plenty.

Seyifunmi Adebote and Jimoh Oluwatobi Segun of Media for Community Change took a trip to see how 3000+ people lived in Zokutu Community without access to water.

A cave, 6 feet below ground level is the only source of water in the community, filling an all-purpose gap: bathing, laundry, cooking and drinking – without any form of purification. It is pitiable, yet true to posit that the level of development in Zokutu is next to nothing reflected in the poor road networks, the mud houses and limited telecommunication access.

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A cave as source of water for Zokutu Community, Abuja

On average, women and young children in Zokutu community have to visit the cave 5 times daily, sadly, the residential area is quite distant to the cave. Left with no alternative, day and night, people have to pass through bushy paths to scoop the oily, dirty, coloured, and smelling water from the cave to meet their basic domestic uses.

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Women about to fetch water in the Cave at Zokutu Community

Because of the very steep slopes, women and children, mostly, have to ascend and descend the cave bare-footed to maintain a strong and firm grip. There have been cases of people falling and insects attack on people fetching water from the cave. Not surprising that the residents of Zokutu community are largely exposed to numerous health hazards, particularly, water-borne diseases and this is complicated by the absence of functional health facilities.

“I have lived here for over 30 years and this is the only source of water we have. Many times, people in the community fall sick because of the water they drink and when we go to the health centre, the people to attend to us complain that there are no drugs. Most of us are not in good health.” Danlani Mudu, the Security Chief (Seriki n pada) of Zokutu community lamented.

MFCC Speaking with Yoana Bauta, Chief of Zokutu Community.

The Head of Zokutu community, 62 years old Yoana Bauta confirming Mudu’s position explained, “Sadly, the cave is the only option we have. The absence of a functional hospital has made things worse, in fact, some of our children have died in our hands. We are pleading that a borehole or other healthier source of water should be provided for the community”, Bauta grieved.

The unavailability of water has also affected the hygiene of ladies and women in this community, exposing them to menstrual health infections and illnesses. Another resident, 14 years old David, said that water poverty in the community has posed a threat to his education, as well as, that of his siblings and friends.”

Titilope Fadare, For Media For Community Change Initiative

Abuja, Nigeria.

MFCC, MHCDI EXPLORES PARTNERSHIP OPPORTUNITY

The real heroes are folks who defy all odds to selflessly and consistently work in local communities to birth sustainable development that impacts the lives of disadvantaged people.
 
At Media for Community Change, we constantly look out for such folks and we are always delighted to beam our spotlight on their interventions in rural communities and amplify their voices across the global scene.
 
On Monday, July 16th, 2018, MFCC’s Founder, Mr. Jimoh Oluwatobi Segun and our Project Director, Mr. ‘Seyifunmi Adebote met with My Hero Community Development Initiative’s Founder, Ms. Ajayi Rita, to profile some of MHCDI’s past efforts and discuss on how to forge strengths towards achieving greater successes in the coming months.
 
Leveraging the new media, Media for Community Change is super delighted to explore this partnership opportunity with “My Hero Community Development Initiative” for the social good of the people and towards making our world a better people.
 
We believe we can change our world, one community at a time and we are ready to make tremendous impacts. Will you join us?
 
Watch this space!

Dr. Laz Ude – “Advocate for issues you’re most passionate about”

As more young people continue to selflessly work towards the actualization of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals in Nigeria, the Executive Director of ‎Pink Oak Cancer Trust, Dr. Laz Ude has urged young people to advocate for issues they are most passionate about.

Speaking in Abuja, at a recent capacity building program organized by Media for Community Change with the theme: “Maximizing the New Media for Sustainable Development”; the health physician, policy advocate and development consultant, stressed the importance of passion in advocacy and social interventions.

Dr Laz Ude Urging Participant to be passionate about what they care about

“Passion is really important. Advocate for issues you’re most passionate about. When you identify an issue, first, you must make accurate diagnose about the problem. Next, you should define the objectives of your intervention applying the SMART approach. Remember, for any remarkable success, you and your team must have sufficient information and apply accurate data to solve the challenge and actualize the global goals.”

Dr Laz Ude Speaking

Dr. Laz, who is also the producer of weekly radio program – Talk Health Naija, further advised people working around the SDGs on collaboration: “Young people should deploy the media to amplify their efforts towards actualizing the Sustainable Development Goals. Partnering with other people who share the similar passion will go a long way to help.”

The capacity building workshop trained 30 organizations on leveraging the new media and other technological tools to achieve sustainable development across various scopes of engagements.

German Embassy To Host SDGs Story Hangout in June

Following May’s edition of the SDGs Story event hosted by the Denmark Embassy in Nigeria, the German embassy in Nigeria is set to host the June’s edition of the SDGs Hangout.

Obviously, many young people leverage the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to make the world a better place through little efforts which sums up to significant results; the Nigeria Youth SDGs Network in Abuja remains committed to amplifying the voices of non-state actors who work ceaselessly to actualize the global goals in Nigeria.

The monthly #SDGsStory Hangout is a unique platform that brings selected young people together to have robust conversations and enlightening engagements about the SDGs and their contributions, thereto.

There is a call to young people, in or around Abuja, who work ceaselessly across various scopes of the Global Goals to be a part of the June edition of the SDGs Story Hangout using this link http://bit.ly/SDGsHangout.

‘Seyifunmi Adebote
MFCC, Project Director.