By Evangeline Anumba
Residents of the area call it Monkey Village, the bike men at the Dawaki junction know it as Monkey Village, Zone 7.
“When you get to Dawaki junction, tell the bike man to take you to Monkey Village,” a guide instructed.
On getting to the environment, you will be itching to see monkeys or know why It’s called Monkey Village.
It’s a village people barely known or heard about even though it is in one of the popular settlements of Dutse in the Bwari Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT)
The area is made of houses mostly unpainted, bungalows, crammed structures, some are not even block house but built with zinc or plank, dirt upon dirt. The kicker is that the residents live very near the rock. The terrain is not clean and all sandy and a place of dust. By the time a visitor leaves the place, he or she is filled in the nose and eyes with dust.
This is where most lower cadre civil servants, artisans, construction workers and traders find cheaper accommodation.
One would wonder why it is called Monkey Village. According to the people who live in the area, a lot of monkeys live up on the mountain and are seen especially during the rainy season. They come down to the settlement, but since the development and influx of people in the area, they do not come down anymore.
Nkechi Uche who has lived there for five years and whose shop faces the mountain directly said: “Look at the rock, sometimes I see monkeys up there, that’s during the rainy season. They will be running up and down the mountain. It was said that before the development of the place, monkeys came down the hill to play. That’s why it is called Monkey Village.
They are still seen up there during the rainy season, but they cannot come down because of the people and the noise. We could just sit here with people and they say, see monkey, and we would look, it could be tiny from here, but they are big up there. I have not seen them come down before.
Apostle Rufus Olaniyi said he has lived in the area for 10 years and still have same story.
“Before, there were monkeys on the hill. They used to come down, but now they don’t come down here again. For about five years, I have not seen them down here, because they have built houses up the hill. You won’t know that this place is called Monkey village, until you come near.”
However the Maiungwa, that is the traditional head of Gaban Tudu, Dutse, Bala Yakubu said it is misconception that have people call the place Monkey Village, that the name of the place is Gaban Tudu which means, hillside.
“We don’t have Monkey Village in Dutse. We only have Dutse Alhaji, Dutse Makaranta, Dutse Baupma, Dawaki and this community is Gaban Tudu, which means hillside. But you know the way things are, believe anyone that has money can use his own power to name any type of name he feels. But the name of this place is Gaban Tudu Zone 7, I don’t have monkey village under me.
This place is not monkey village except there is any other place in Nigeria called that name.
Many just buy land and build and won’t exactly know the name of the place or what it is about. At last, they just decide a name and put it on the street. There is an instruction that the name of the village is Gaban Tudu.”
He said the area is a great place but they do not have potable water and good roads.
“We need water, everyone in the area buys water and it gets worse. So we need government to give us water.”
He also noted that they have challenges with the power distribution agency bill as the bill they receive comes with ridiculous amount and many people in the village cannot afford it.
“We also have challenges with the agency’s operation and the people are complaining. Sometimes even when the power supply is bearable, the bills are still outrageous.”
According to the Hakimi of Dutse Alhaji, Abubakar Bako, there is no area in Dutse known as Monkey Village instead it is Gaban Tudu.
“These are tales people choose to peddle. There was no place not covered by forest earlier and animals didn’t live in. Every place has its history, but no place in Dutse is known as Monkey Village.
Even now there are monkeys, baboons, even snakes there. There is no bush or forest that you can see wild animals in them. There were baboons of different types in the past and even elephants used to live there its only that as the elephants have gone away, the monkey remain within the rock. You know there are friendly animal.”
Many people know Dutse to mean a rock, but not the Alhaji in the name. The Hakimi of Dutse Alhaji, Alhaji Abubakar Bako, in a chat with Abuja Metro, told the story behind the name Dutse Alhaji.
He said, the village was named after an elephant hunter from Kano known as Alhaji Idris, who saved them from elephant attacks.
“As Dutsen Alhaji implies, and as we learnt from our elders that Dutsen Alhaji is a place founded by a man called Alhaji Idris, a hunter. Before, this place was a forest with a lot of elephants around this place, and there were people living around here, but the place was not conducive because of the wild animal. Alhaji was an elephant hunter around Kano, when they learnt about the hunter, they informed him. Immediately he came, he saw that the elephants he used to go searching for lived there in numbers. He had to go back, equipped himself and came back to hunt and kill all.
He also explained that the major problem of the area is water scarcity. “Water passes through here, through the pipes. We hear the noise as it passes from the Lower Usma Dam Dutse, which supplies water to the city. But here, we don’t have water. We need water because as the population of the area increases, the problem worsens.
According to Bako, most of the residents of the area get water from vendors who in turn buy from boreholes drilled by individuals for business.
He called on government to help provide water for the growing population in the area.