…We haven’t had birth attendants and antenatal services for over 200 years, residents alleged
…‘Only 5 youths with senior school cert’
…NAP/SAP/OGP not impactful, says Media Crux
By Comrade Martins Abantlehe and Emmanuel Bagudu
None of the commitments made in the State Action Plan (SAP) of the Kaduna State Open Government Partnership (OGP) favoured Kabobo Community. The National Action Plan (NAP) did not as well.
Kabobo Citizens claimed their community is currently grappling with the problem of underdevelopment, poverty and other socio-economic challenges. Media Crux team made an attempt to probe the situation.
Located in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna state, Kabobo is five kilometers West of Rigachikwu, a major satellite town in Kaduna, 27 kilometers away from the metropolitan city.
Kabobo has a population of about 1200 people, the inhabitants are mostly Hausa and Fulani speaking tribes, whose major occupations are crop and livestock farming. Citizens of Kabobo claimed their community existed for about 200 years without a Primary Health Care, (PHC) centre for their health needs, making it extremely difficult for expectant mothers in the area to attend Antenatal during pregnancy.
From young, old and the aged, the lamentations keep ringing. Alot of citizens keep raising allegations of government negligence.
According to the people interviewed, the community have never had any contact with quality social amenities.
What seems like a formal learning centre in the village is a two blocks of classrooms accommodating about 230 primary 1-6 pupils which is against the classroom population standards recommended by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
Even teacher competence is a big issue as the 2017 competency test for teachers in Kaduna State only recorded the success of only one teacher in Kabobo.
Open defecation, environmental and public health abuses seem to be a common practice in the area, hips of garbage, open air pollution are a common site that greets you upon arrival into the quiet but rather, neglected Kabobo community.
Child Marriage seems to be normal norm in the area as underage children with babies fastening to their backs are seen across the length and breadth in the community, a place recklesly abandoned.
Most of these children are malnourished liken to those having ‘kwashiorkor,’ a protein-energy deficiency that often result to stunted growth in children, leaving them with big stomach.
In Kabobo community, malnuorished looking children, early child marriage and child-mother is conspicuously common.
Civilization is absent. Polygamy is a norm. Very few girl-children attain 13 years of age without given out for marriage, girls are the hottest “assets” in kabobo; they are never allowed to complete the mandatory basic education according to the Universal Basic Education Declaration because in most cases, they are married out before they could even think of completing primary education.
Residents say as at November, 2019, barely five youths of Kabobo extraction, have successfully concluded their secondary education in the history of the entire village.
The village Head of Kabobo, Abdullahi Kabobo, told our team that Kabobo cannot boast of any form of social amenities such as PHC, Electricity and Water.
Mal Kabobo, revealed that the neares health facility to them is located in Rigachikun, about 17 kilometres away which makes it very difficult for pregnant women to attend antenatal services or other medical attention when the need arises. This explains why almost everyone in the community rely on herbal medicines not reliable.
“It is a very serious problem here in Kabobo, our women do not attend antenatal services because as you can see, there is no hospital here and I was born seeing it so. If not for the late Governor Partick Yakowa, who provided access road, it would have been hard for you to come here,” the traditional ruler said.
The traditional ruler stressed that a few lucky ones – those whose husbands have motorcycle can afford to take their wives to the local government headquarters in Rigachikum.
“All our children are given birth to at home, yes, our wives are delivered of their babies here in the village. Some whose husbands have motorcycles take thier families to Rigachikum but most time, they give birth on their way to the local government headquarters,’’ the traditional ruler said.
A resident of Kabobo, Mal Jafaru Adamu, corroborated what Abdulahi Kabobo said.
He explained that only a few privileged people in Kabobo can afford medicines or medical services.
He called on the local government chairman and the Kaduna state government to come to their aid.
“We are begging the local government chairman as well as the governor of the state to come to our rescue” he pleaded.
For Hajara Jafaru, a mother of eight and the first wife of Jafaru Adamu, who has never been to the hospital for antenatal or otherwise, it will be a great relieve if the government can provide them with at least, a community health centre.
“I have eight children and pregnant for the ninth. I have never been to the hospital for delivery of any of my children and even the one I’m caring. If the government can help us and open a hospital for us, we will be happy,” she said.
A traditional birth attendant whose age could not be ascertained – but looks very old, Mallama Halimatu Alhassan, told us that she has been in the practice for over two decades with no formal training.
“I have no formal education or training but I inherited it from my mother who was also a traditional birth attendant before she passed on. I have been helping women to deliver of their babies for more than 20 years now,” she said.
The traditional birth attendant called for the establishment of a health centre in the community to assist women and their babies. She said the health centre will also help in training more young women in the village to take over from them, the aged.
“I am calling on the state government to please provide us with a health facility centre or at least, let them help to train more traditional birth attendants who are a lots younger to take over from us – the old ones because if we die and there is no other, the problem will be worst,” she added.
The universal health coverage requires of governments at all levels to ensure at least, one Primary Health Centre is situated in every community to cater for the health requirements of the community. This did not favour Kabobo community.
Not even the United Nations Guiding Principles (UNGPs) on Business and Human right could bring succour to the people of Kabobo. UNGPs encompass three pillars outlining how states and businesses should implement the framework.
1.The state duty to protect human rights
2. The corporate responsibility to respect human rights
3. Access to remedy for victims of business-related abuses.
The now over 1200 people in Kabobo have not had any opportunity of exploring the UNGPs.
Not even the UNESCO Guiding UIDING Principles on Education can make a case for the Kabobo literacy level. The UNESCO’s 18th Session held in Paris on 17th to 23rd November 1974, proposed a guiding principles that declares among others that “Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups…. “
UNESCO further stated that: ” (a) An international dimension and a global perspective in education at all levels and in all its forms; (b) Understanding and respect for all peoples, their cultures, civilizations, values and ways of life, including domestic ethnic cultures and cultures of other nations;
(c) Awareness of the increasing global interdependence between peoples and nations; (d) Abilities to communicate with others;
(e) Awareness not only of the rights but also of the duties incumbent upon individuals, social groups and nations towards each other;
(f) Understanding – of the necessity for international solidarity and cooperation;
(g) Readiness on the part of the individual to participate in solving the problems of his community, his country and the world at large.
5. Combining learning, training, information and action, international education should further the appropriate intellectual and emotional development of the individual. It should develop a sense of social responsibility and of solidarity with less privileged groups and should lead to observance of the principles of equality in everyday conduct. It should also help to develop qualities, aptitudes and abilities which enable the individual to acquire a critical understanding of problems at the national and the international level; to understand and explain facts, opinions and ideas; to work in a group; to accept and participate in free discussions; to observe the elementary rules of procedure applicable to any discussion; and to base value judgments and decisions on a rational analysis of relevant facts and factors.
6. Education should stress the inadmissibility of recourse to war for purposes of expansion, aggression and domination, or to the use of force and violence for purposes of repression, and should bring every person to understand and assume his or her responsibilities for the maintenance of peace. It should contribute to international understanding and strengthening of world peace and to the activities in the struggle against colonialism and neo-colonialism in all their forms and manifestations, and against all forms and varieties of racialism, fascism, and apartheid as well as other ideologies which breed national and racial hatred and which are contrary to the purposes of these recommendations”
All these have not saved Kabobo people from the horrors of underdevelopment. With up to 271 million naira allocated to Igabi local government which host Kabobo as well as the commitment of the state government in its National Action Plan while signing the OGP, one will think there is still hope. Hope is far from Kabobo. A closer look at the Kaduna SAP which is from 2018 to 2020 is quite evidential of the hopelessness that engulf Kabobo.
About five commitments summerises the Kaduna SAP
“1. Ensure more effective citizens participation across the entire budget cycle
2. Full implementation of Open Contracting data standards in the public sector.
3. Improve the ease of doing business in Kaduna State
4. Develop and adopt guidelines for the actualisation of the public’s right to access
information held by government and establish effective implementation procedures
5. Develop a Permanent Dialogue Mechanism through technology-based citizen feedback on all projects and programs”
If the UN and UNESCO guiding principles as well as the Kaduna Action Plan/OGP Principles and Budgetry Allocations cannot bring succour to the people of Kabobo, what then could be the messiahnic or deux machina that will safe the over 2 century existed community? The answer to this question may come soon but indeed time will decide.
Abantlehe and Bagudu are global advocates of Open Government Partnership.