In the hinterlands of Bauchi State, a network of vital arteries weaves together the agrarian communities and the bustling heart of the region, Bauchi town. Among these lifelines is the road that interlaces Liman Katagum, Luda (Yamrat), Kir, Gwallaga, and Bauchi town itself. Beyond its economic significance, this thoroughfare serves as a binding agent, connecting the diverse villages of the area, uniting them under a common social tapestry.
Yet, beneath this veneer of connectivity lies a disheartening reality, a grim narrative etched into the very earth – a tale of travails that spans over 30 arduous kilometers. The plight of the local populace is never more poignant than during the rainy season, when the road metamorphoses into a quagmire of misery, a treacherous trail of despair. It is a shared lament, echoing across the region: “We beseech the state government for deliverance.”
In the hamlet of Luda, Mohammed Abdullahi, a resolute citizen, articulates the collective distress that keeps them awake at night. With earnest supplication, he implores the state authorities to undertake the Herculean task of road construction, a beacon of hope amidst decades of suffering.
Aliyu Umar, the venerable Wakilin Gwallagan Mayaka, confides in the pages of Hama Media, revealing the staggering toll exacted by the absence of well-paved arteries linking these communities. The absence of robust infrastructure subjects the villagers to relentless hardships and inflicts substantial losses upon the state. In Umar’s own words, “Come the harvest season, Gwallagan Mayaka emerges as the fulcrum upon which diverse agricultural yields traverse into Bauchi town from these surrounding communities. These very communities constitute the epicenter of Bauchi town’s sustenance. Regrettably, when the heavens weep, even the most intrepid motorcyclists dare not tread upon our forlorn path.
Gwallagan Mayaka road in Bauchi town
Umar, in a candid revelation, disclosed that a crucial lifeline connecting his community, Gwallagan Mayaka, to the heart of Bauchi town was rendered impassable, a perilous impediment only overcome through the timely intervention of the state government under the aegis of the Ministry of Local Government Affairs. With remarkable foresight and resolve, they embarked on repairs, meticulously mending the bridge and addressing its grievous maladies by infusing it with the resolute foundation of sand. It was a Herculean feat, attributed to the stewardship of Nuhu Zaki, the former commissioner for Local Government Affairs.
Yet, Umar’s gaze extends beyond the past, embracing the horizon of possibilities that beckon. With a reverent plea directed towards the incumbent state governor, he beseeches the extension of these transformative infrastructure projects to the far reaches of the communities. His vision is clear – to rekindle the embers of agricultural and economic prosperity that have long laid dormant. His trust finds its anchor in Governor Bala Mohammed. Umar confidently affirms, “I know Kaura will embark on this noble endeavor,” echoing the hope of a brighter, more connected future for his cherished community.
Hama Media’s meticulous investigation has unearthed a telling revelation concerning the fiscal year of 2021. In that year, the Bauchi State government allocated a substantial sum of N1.6 billion towards a noble undertaking – the construction of the Liman Katagum – Luda – Bauchi road, a lifeline of connectivity within the region. This monumental endeavor was entrusted to the state’s Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development.
Delving deeper into the annals of financial stewardship, the approved budget document, an unimpeachable testament to fiscal transparency, bears witness to the judicious allocation of these funds. Astonishingly, a staggering N1.4 billion was meticulously expended on the road project, as succinctly attested to under the banner of “Budget Performance.” This resolute commitment to infrastructure development reflects the government’s dedication to enhancing the well-being and economic prospects of its citizens, exemplifying prudent resource allocation and execution in the pursuit of communal progress.
The documents reveal an intriguing fiscal quirk in the budgetary records of Bauchi State. In the annals of 2020, the road project that now stands as a symbol of connectivity and progress was conspicuously absent from the financial ledger, a curious omission that raises eyebrows.
However, a step back in time to the year 2019 uncovers a noteworthy entry in the approved budget, signifying the initial acknowledgment of the road project. Regrettably, the budgetary details pertaining to this vital endeavor remained shrouded in obscurity, casting a veil of mystery over its financial aspects.
This enigmatic journey through budgetary documents underscores the importance of transparent financial reporting and the need for comprehensive disclosure of public expenditure, providing clarity and accountability to the citizens who rely on such information for understanding the course of their government’s actions.
In the 2022 approved budget, N300 million was again budgeted for the same road – and no details with regard to the previous performance of the budget with respect to the road.
Again, the 2023 approved budget, showed that another 250,000,000 was earmarked for the same road project with zero performance.
Within the three fiscal years, N2,150,000,000 (Two Billion, One Hundred and Fifty Million) was budgeted for the road, and N1,464,000,000 (One Billion, Four Hundred and Sixty Four Million) was released, yet the road remains in shambles.
A resident of Hammada, Maimuna Adamu said a portion of the road in the area was filled up with sand some months ago and no one showed up again. “Wallahi”, she swears, “we want this road to be constructed because we are suffering”.
In Hama Media’ relentless pursuit of clarity surrounding the Liman Katagum – Luda – Bauchi Road project and the corresponding financial transactions, our reporter visited the Bauchi State Ministry of Rural Development. There, he sought answers and insight into the current status of this pivotal infrastructure venture, as well as the intricate web of payments that had been woven around it.
The Permanent Secretary of the Bauchi Ministry of Rural Development, Hannatu Iliya, opted not to unveil the project’s current standing within her ministry. Instead, she offered a cryptic response, inviting patience and anticipation for the impending arrival of the new cabinet for the ministry.
In her words, “I can only give you one assurance. Wait for the inauguration of the new commissioners. When they commence official duty, then you come and I will connect you with the new commissioner for your request.” With these words, she left the reporter with a promise that the future might hold the key to unlocking the mysteries surrounding the Liman Katagum – Luda – Bauchi Road.
It is worth noting that despite the secrecy shrouding certain aspects of this project, a simple Google search revealed that the approximate distance between Bauchi and Liman Katagum via Luda (Yamrat) spans approximately 34 kilometers, shedding some light on the geographical scope of this crucial road network and why the state government failed to deliver it despite evidence of release of funds.
This publication is produced with support from the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) under the Collaborative Media Engagement for Development Inclusivity and Accountability Project (CMEDIA) funded by the MacArthur Foundation