Community Watch: MAIYOLA, a Forgotten Fulani Community in Kaduna State
By Mohammad Ibrahim
KADUNA, NIGERIA – Maiyola, a Fulani community located deep inside Kajuru bush and bordering Kajuru-Kachia local government area of Kaduna state Northwest Nigeria, is named after its founder and village head – Abu Maiyola. The community has been in existence for over 4o years.
The village, which predominantly comprises Fulani settlement, is one community in three clusters namely Maiyola 1, Maiyola 2 and Maiyola 3. There are over 3000 people within the groups under Idon ward in Kajuru local government.
No presence of government existence
Like most under-reported communities in northern Nigeria, Maiyola has no government presence. It is no surprise that there are no basic social amenities in the area. There are no motorable roads. No water. No electricity. No health facility. No school. And no internet. Those who live here are exemplary survivors.
While speaking on behalf of the Village head, Abu Maiyola, one of the elders in the community, Haruna Adamu, expressed dismay over lack of development in the community.
“We have been neglected all these years, which made us believe that the government doesn’t even know of our existence.
“We have nothing in this community that [shows that a government exists] as you can see for yourself. No water, no clinic, no government school, no road. We have nothing to show that government is here,” he said.
According to the community members, to access health facility, one has to travel over half of an hour through mutilated road networks. The mission is almost impossible during the raining season as vehicles get stuck in the muds and flooded paths that connect the village to the highway.
The ordeal is worse for people in need of urgent care, especially pregnant in labor.
It was gathered that this year alone more than ten women lost their lives on their way to the hospital during labor.
Clean water a luxury
There is no access to portable clean water in the community. A local stream, the only source of water, is shared with animals and also used for domestic activities such as bath, cooking, and laundry. This is a major health hazard.
Aliyu Adamu, a resident of the village said their women suffered during the dry season due to a shortage of water.
“We don’t find it easy during the dry season because all the nearby stream get dried off. Our women trek 5 kilometers to fetch water. In fact, we drink from the same source with our cattle, which [has] a lot of health implications.
“We want to know our government; we want to see good things being provided in our community but the government seems not to be aware of our existence. We hope your visit here will make the government know our community exists,” he said.
Education for tomorrow
The only community school built in Maiyola was done through community effort with assistance from the founder of Reproductive Health Advocacy Network, a Non-Governmental Organization, Benjamin Maigari, who visited the community sometime last year after he discovered the people.
But having a physical structure is just one step. “The only person I saw as the headmaster is also the teacher from primary one to six,” said Benjamin Maigari, while sharing his experience and ties to the community.
Maigari believes that the nomadic culture might explain the government’s hesitant in investing in the community if they are aware of its existence.
“They are nomads but not the type that travel. They live in the community for years, so they need to be taken care of like any citizen of this country, and they have rights as citizens,” he said.
All necessities of life that enhance development are completely absent in this community, Maigari said.
The lack of government programs in the community when he visited inspired an action on his part.
“It is just that as a rural mobilizer I was opportune to know somebody from the village,” he narrated. The person mentioned the ordeal they face in the community and Maigari decided to visit to see things himself.
“So I took the pain and went to the community myself. I saw them building a school. I donated a zinc to them to make them complete the school, and that is what they have been using now as their primary school,” he said.
Joel Haruna, the only teacher, and headmaster of the community school sent by the Local Government Council describes Maiyola as a peaceful community. But teachers from the local government are afraid to take on transfer positions in the community.
“The place is peaceful, but the fear is still in our people. They don’t want to be posted there. Apart from that, the terrain is bad not everyone will be comfortable going there” he said.