Very close to a big drain near the Nima community is a group of young men playing snooker.

A beans seller to the right, a mechanic shop to the left, and a convenience shop directly opposite it. Under a small shed, the young men gather during the day to play with balls and sticks.

When they are hungry, they buy beans and top it up with sachet water from the convenience store. Theirs is a simple but fulfilled life. Under the shed, they vent out their frustrations about youth unemployment, sanitation, insecurity, and sometimes the violent tag that has become associated with their community. Mahmud Mohammed has lived in Nima all his life.

He loves his community but says sometimes the negative tag of thuggery affects him and sometimes makes him want to relocate, he says many of his colleagues have no jobs. “Employment rate in Nima is not the best, most of us are graduates but look around, there is no work to do,“ he said.

According to the Deputy Imam of the Abubakar Siddique Mosque in Nima, there are two meanings of Nima. One with an Arabic origin which means blessed and another of Ga roots which is loosely translated as ‘chief’s town’. But Nima has not always been a blessed community as it continues to reel under many challenges that seem never to fade away.

Sometime in January, two youth groups in Nima and Mamobi engaged in a machete and gunfight in the middle of the streets. Videos of the mayhem and commotion that followed, went viral triggering an age-long perception about Nima-a place of thuggery and violence. The Imam of the Siddique Abubakar Mosque, Zakaria Umar Gyinkoh disagrees.

He says most of the people who come to the community to foment violence are outsiders from adjoining suburbs. He says the indigenes are not violent “they come from outside to come and disrupt the peace in this community, because a boy who is from Nima when he is engaged in a bad activity, and you advise him, he will listen to you and stop. But those from outside, do not respect you, they do not know you. So whenever they are doing something bad and you talk to them they do not listen”. He said with his eyes wide open.

Malik Gambo is one of the opinion leaders in Nima. After many years of living in the US, he is back to contribute his quota to the development of the community he loves so much. He shares a similar view about how persons he describes as outsiders have taken over Nima “we need a rehabilitation center here because some of the guys who come over here, they have become drug addicts, the real ‘Nimanians’ are not drug addicts I am serious. I have a house just nearby, a lot of junkies are there. Most of them are not from Nima, about 80 percent are not from here. The ‘Nimanians’ themselves are very peaceful” he said with a smile.

Some distance away from the Abubakar Siddique Mosque is a tailoring shop owned by Yakubu Umar Gyinkoh. Yakubu was born and bred in Nima and says previously, young people in the community did not aspire to climb to the top of the academic ladder. He is happy many of them are climbing to the peak of that ladder that was avoided like a plague decades ago. “I am happy many of them are now pursuing their Masters, doctorate degrees, and many others. It was not like that some years ago. Things are fast changing here, and I know soon our community will change for the better,” he said.

Joy in My Community airs on the JoyNews Channel every Saturday at 6:30 pm.

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