Obtuse Drainage Culvert In Borno Village Fixed

In September, HumAngle reported how a construction company came to a village, built something that defied logic, and then left. Although the incident we reported happened in Borno, and may have appeared to lack wider significance, it seemed to be emblematic of many people’s experiences of life in Nigeria.

Many of the people in the village couldn’t tell if the concrete structure was meant to be a culvert, or a wall. 

A culvert sits below the ground and channels surface water away. But, as HumAngle reported in September, this structure was well above ground, standing proudly in its dysfunction.

It became a barrier to the residents moving around their village, and when it rained the concrete channel directed water into people’s houses.

But after HumAngle got in touch with the construction company -the somewhat appropriately named Obtuse Tec Engineering and Construction, we can report that the “wall-or-culvert” situation in the village of Bulabulin Garandam, Borno state has been fixed. 

The construction company came back, demolished the concrete wall they had left and rebuilt the culvert in the right place. 

Why is it news?

This was just one culvert in one village in one part of Borno, a state that has, after all, been torn apart by bloody conflict, so why did it matter to report it in the first place? 

HumAngle thought that in some ways, this one instance of a piece of obtuse engineering in a small village, stood in for so many people’s experiences in Nigeria. It spoke to how people relate to the authorities who are meant to be responsible for their well-being, and how those authorities treat people. 

Also, during a time of unprecedented flooding, made worse due to climate change, it became a metaphor for the inadequacy of response, as it threatened to make things worse in a serious flooding situation. 

The drainage construction was part of a contract awarded by the State Government for road and drainage construction in the Babulin Garandam community, Jere Local Government Area. 

There had also been accusations that child labour had been used on the project. Public relations manager for Obtuse Tec Engineering and Construction Ltd Bukar Tijani said the company was not aware of any children being hired. Local village head Bulama Modu said the children were brought by the casual labourers hired to work on the project.

In a follow-up investigation, HumAngle gathered that the poor construction was a result of poor survey work provided by the survey firm that the contractors engaged. 

Demolitions, reconstructions

The village head Modu, told HumAngle that their lamentations have been heard and most of the poorly constructed parts of the drainage system have been demolished and reconstructed. He added that he “now didn’t have much to say since their voices have been heard and necessary measures are being taken.” He appreciated the contractors for their quick response.

The demolitions were, however, not limited to the poorly constructed drainages. 

Several residential buildings that obstructed the road and drainage construction have been knocked down. 

The house of Alhaji Ari Budum, which was in the way of the road construction, has been partially demolished. According to a resident, “before, if two vehicles coming from opposite directions, Budum’s house would obstruct them from seeing each other. Now, we are grateful to the Borno State Government for the construction of this road and drainage.”

Work on the project continues.

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