By: Mayen Etim
KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – Running a canoe transport business is unique to men because of the risks and expenses involved, however, in Mashigi-Kurmin Kaduna, Gobirawa in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna state, the reverse is the case as the women owned the canoes and rent them out to paddlers to return money to them.
Investigation revealed that this was part of the women’s efforts to groom a decent home, and contribute to maintenance and sustenance of the family.
Findings conducted by the Assistant Director African Climate Reporters, Dr Piman Hoffman, with special focus on rural dwellers and poverty revealed that 60 per cent of the women in the community owned canoes for their ferry business; and these canoes usually last for some years.
According to the women, a locally constructed canoe goes for N20,000 to N25,000 used for their business due to lack of bridge in the community.
Dr. Hoffman noted that most residents in the community have no option but to patronize the ferries for their daily business, even children and pregnant women are not left out as this is the only means of transport in the community.
He disclosed that the women contracted carpenters for the construction of the canoes, and afterwards rent them out to the youth in the communities in return for money.
He also informed that through the ferry business most of the women are now self reliant as this has helped them fight poverty, unemployment, and as well reduce rural- urban migration.
The Director African Climate Reporters called on the Government to construct a bridge to ease transportation in the community, and as well reduce the number of deaths recorded annually while attempting to cross the river on canoe.
Dr. Hoffman also called on Environmental NGOs/CSOs to be committed in taking climate change campaigns to the rural areas.
Speaking to a team of Journalists who visited the river banks, one of the business women, Sakinatu Mohammed, disclosed that she started the ferry business over 10 years ago and this has help her in so many way to pay her children school fees, provide them with new cloths and afford a new apartment for her family.
She added that the ferry business has changed her life and also made her self-reliant without disturbing her husband or any relations for financial supports.
According to her, every week she received a return of N1,500 from the people who rented her canoes for business at the river banks.
”Every woman in this business will never encounter any lose, because the canoes are in use both raining and dry season,” she further revealed.
Habiba Abubakar , is another woman in the community who is engaged in ferry business, said that canoe business is really good and it’s helping most of the village women in fighting poverty and also reduce unemployment among the youth.
Team Lead of the canoe paddlers in the community, Mohammadu Mannir, expressed satisfaction over the efforts of the women in helping youth of the community to embrace the ferry business.
He said the women in the community have in no small way help his team a lot with the necessary tools needed to carry out their job effectively, and drew the attention of government to construct a bridge to save lives of passengers that are always victims of floods.
While thanking the organization for visiting the river banks, Mannir, appealed to the authorities to provide basic amenities for the benefits of the rural dwellers to make life meaningful for them.