There is a popular saying that when a dog bites man, there is nothing unusual but what carries with it a surprise element is when man bites dog.
The name Monkey Village without any doubt should mean an abode for monkeys and so when the name is heard, the assumption is that monkeys would be seen in their numbers in such a place.
However, there is a village in Bwari area council that has defied the norm.
At Monkey Village in Zone 7, Dutse Alhaji area of the council, humans are seen moving about their businesses. Instead of monkeys as expected, the place is an abode for humans.
While other villages are said to be named after people who settled there or certain landmarks in the area, Monkey village is said to be named after monkeys that once owned and dwelt there.
Leadership caught up with the Mai Angwa of the village, Bala Salisu Yakubu, who happens to be one of the earliest settlers in the village.
According to him, the village was a forest where monkeys dwelt but the monkeys left for different areas on the hill after they started noticing human presence in the area.
“In 2003, I can remember, I came here to farm. This place that my house is situated now was a farm land where I cultivated yams and guinea corn and other things and you need to see the size of yams I used to get from this place. I decided to build a house here as the population of Dutse increased.
“This area was a farmland before and many people used to come here to cultivate their crops. In those days, when they come, they see monkeys moving around. That is how the village came by that name. But as development came, the monkeys moved back to the hills and left this space for humans to occupy,” he narrated.
But the Mai Angwa was quick to correct that the village was now known as Gaban Tudu meaning Hill Side and not Monkey Village, adding that though people refer to it as such, the name recognised by the area council authority is Gaban Tudu.
“Some media people have been here and wanted to know why this place is called Monkey village. I told them to look around and see if they will see any monkey. This place is called Gaban Tudu which means hill side. If you go to the area council, there is no village known as Monkey Village in their record” he added.
But no matter how the Mai Angwa chose to explain the name, the fact still remains that most people in and around the area know the place as Monkey Village.
Gaban Tudu to them is entirely alien. A resident of the village, Jal Ibrahim when asked, said he only knows the place as Monkey Village.
Another fact is that no other village in Dutse has been named after an animal.
But where did the monkeys go, one may ask? The Mai Angwa explained that the monkeys have retreated into the hills and jokingly added that they had no desire to share their abode with humans.
He also added that though he had continued to farm on some of his other farm lands, he was yet to see any monkey as he did when he was cultivating the area which he said should be known as Gadan Tudu.
Even though he agreed that Monkey Village is an example of how the rapid increase in human population and rate of development has brought about the conversion of farm lands into residential and commercial subdivisions, roads, and other uses, Yakubu insists that people’s needs must override those of animals.
Away from the story of monkeys and humans, Yakubu stated that the problem of the community remained that of water supply, adding that there is the need for boreholes to be drilled in the area so that the people will enjoy the use of potable water.
“The area council is trying its best in the area of infrastructure. But the problem of the community remains water supply. We are suffering here when it comes to water which we buy from mairuwa. They sell a 20 litre jerrycan for N20. These mairuwas have to get water from boreholes individuals in the community have sunk. We also have one that a church drilled. Various individuals who are residents here have really come up to help the community,” he said.
He stated that the community was enjoying relatively good supply of electricity and attributed it to help from different individuals whom he said bought transformers which were installed in the area after the one they were using blew up years back.
“For some time, we didn’t have electricity after our transformer blew. We have some individuals who helped us with transformers so as to make sure that we have electricity,” he added.
The Mai Angwa stated that though the community was in need of other basic infrastructure, like many other Nigerians they were used to living in critical condition without complaint and were afraid to complain “because we know that crying to government for help might lead to another big problem which is demolition. So sometimes, we decide to stay as we are and continue to stay as we are.”
He however added that what leaders in every sphere of government need is absolute support and prayers and added that condemning and criticising the leaders will amount to nothing as far as development is concerned.
“We should continue to pray for our leaders. Condemning them at every turn of the way is not fair to them. A leader has enormous responsibility to the people he is leading. He needs prayers and support from the people he is leading if he will come up with good policies that will benefit the people,” he said.