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Damankasa, A Remote Ghetto in The FCT Where Cost of Rent is Beyond Imagination

By Chris Emetoh

A trip to Damankasa one of the remote villages in Garki area of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) reveals many of the upcoming towns housing a good number of the city’s residents.

Damankasa can best be described as a village within the city centre of Abuja, unnoticed and unperturbed, it’s residents seem to be enjoying relative peace especially from the demolition squad of the FCTA’s Development Control. It is located a few drives away from Gudu district just after Durumi and Apo.

There is however an obvious absurdity with Damankasa land sketch which points to facts of a long-neglected community. The village seems to have only one road linking it to the outside world, muddy and un-tarred. The road itself asides from not getting attention from the relevant authority which in this case is believed to be the responsibility of the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), is an eyesore. It is noticed that at some points along the road is a narrow bush path where the vehicles and bikes have to struggle with pedestrians for right of ways.

This particular point stands at the middle of the long stretch road and is not more than 11 feet wide. According to some of the bike men in the cause of interactions on how they cope with it, the road is very bad but they have to cope with it since there is no other road, the other road that connects directly to Durumi is off their way and very far. Continuing with the narration, One of them Salisu Ado, said the Damankasa road is very dangerous and advised it is not safe to ply at night after 9:00pm.

Asked to explain further, the commercial motorcyclist said they are always afraid to continue with the road once it is nightfall because “the bad ones are always at that bush point, and there have been incidents of snatched motorbikes and even violent attacks against people there.”

Although the village may lack a good road, a walk around it shows it is not bereft of other social amenities as to my surprise, there is a steady power supply and constant pipe-borne water. Some enquiries revealed that this is where a former House of Representatives member and Former Chairman of AMAC, Micah Jiba, lives in an edifice that stands out clearly from the rest of the buildings, not too far from the Jiba Hotel which is the only center of attraction and hospitality there.

Funny enough, you might be shocked to know that despite the awkwardness of Damankasa village with over 78 percent of the houses built with mud blocks as was the tradition in most remote settlements in the FCT, the cost of rent is overwhelmingly alarming as residents struggle with it.

A resident interviewed said, a single room is between N70000-90000, while self contain is above 150000.

He went further to say that getting a bedroom apartment is about 200000 and 250000.

This hyper-inflated rate becomes even more worrisome when compared to the environment and its non-attractiveness. This is how far it is becoming increasingly difficult for residents to get affordable houses in the FCT. If certain things are to be taken note of, it is the fact that authorities should put in place measures to checkmate rents in virtually all the towns in Abuja and its environs. There should be a regulatory agency to handle this and perhaps bring to book anyone found wanton. While this will go a long way to creating sanity and checkmating the excesses among landlords there is the possibility of ensuring a harmonious Tenant/Landlord relationship. Furthermore, the government should endeavour to send out agents to document the needs of residents in remote locations in the FCT such as Damankasa, with the objective of ascertaining their social needs and ameliorate to a certain degree the stresses they encounter on daily basis.

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