Bundu-Ama: Rivers Waterfront Settlement With One Toilet
Bundu Ama, a densely populated Port Harcourt waterfront settlement came into limelight in 2012 when a former governor, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, had an altercation with Dame Patience Jonathan, wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, over the planned demolition of the waterfront settlement occupied mostly by the Okrika Aborigines.
The former governor had alleged that the area was a hideout to notorious criminals that had been threatening residents of Port Harcourt.
The threat to demolish the area did not go down well with Mrs Jonathan who was said to have upbraided the former governor for threatening to demolish a settlement mainly occupied by her kiths and kins of Okrika Aborigines.
Bundu Ama is one of more than 40 waterfront settlements in Port Harcourt, which make up some of the city’s most densely populated areas and are home to more than 200,000 people.
Thousands of residents were forcibly evicted from their waterfront homes in the last four years.
On August 28, 2009, up to 17,000 people were forcibly evicted from their homes in the Njemanze waterfront very close to Bundu Ama when the government demolished the community as part of its urban renewal development agenda.
The slum settlements are mainly occupied by low income earners who could not afford the luxury of renting decent accommodation in Port Harcourt.
The settlement is located adjacent to the Port Harcourt Correctional Centre and bounded by the popular Port Harcourt Creek Road market.
But despite its closeness to the Port Harcourt Correctional Centre, the area is noted for crimes such as arm banditry, kidnapping, oil bunkering and drug peddling.
During the peak of militancy in Port Harcourt, the area provided easy accommodation for some of the ex-militant leaders.
The settlement is bereft of good road network, potable water and good toilet facilities.
Our reporter learnt that the majority of residents of the area use one makeshift toilet constructed atop the Bundu waterside.
A resident of the area, Gibson Tamuno, told our reporter that toilet facilities in the area are a luxury.
He said that majority of residents use the makeshift toilet.
“Life is not easy at Bundu Ama.
“Even as densely populated as the area is, it has only one toilet.
“Toilet in this area is a luxury.
“Very few can afford the cost to construct toilets in their respective homes, while majority of residents who cannot afford such use the makeshift toilet located atop the waterside.
“To construct toilet is very expensive because one has to pipe the toilet from the chambers to discharge it into the creek.
“That is the reason why majority of residents use the makeshift toilet,” he said.
He called on the state government to come to the aid of the residents by constructing befitting toilets for them.
Another resident of the area, Ibiwari Tari, said that the area is neglected because it is a slum and majority of the residents are low income earners.
“The reason why this area is neglected is because it is a slum.
The area is occupied by low income earners.
The most difficult challenge we are having here is poor toilet facility.
Majority of residents use the makeshift toilet constructed in the waterside while those who can afford the cost of constructing toilets in their apartments do so at a very high cost.
We are having space problem as a result of the cluster nature of the settlement.
Those that construct toilet facilities in their homes don’t dig chambers because of space.
What they do is to lay pipe from the chambers and connect it to the waterside where the feaces is discharged,” he said.
Another resident, Dike John, said that the area might experience epidemic given the location and nature of the toilet.
He said that the toilet was constructed on top of water, which he said many residents use to take care of their daily water supply.
“You can imagine the stench that comes out from the toilet.
“The toilet was constructed on top of water and the same water is what many use to take care of their daily water supply.
“The stench that comes out from the toilet is too strong.
“The area is at the mercy of epidemic and something urgent should be done to remedy the situation,” he said.