United Bank Africa

Catholic Archbishop Flags Off Construction of 24-kilometre Community Road in Cross River

Archbishop Ekuwem performs ground breaking of 24-km community road in Mkpot

Archbishop Ekuwem performs ground breaking of 24-km community road in Mkpot

Archbishop Ekuwem 2

From: Dianabasi Effiong, Mkpot (Cross River)

Archbishop Joseph Ekuwem, the Catholic Archdiocese of Calabar, has expressed happiness that his humble intervention encouraged the people of Mkpot community in Akamkpa Local Government in Cross River start the construction of a 24-kilometre road through community efforts.
Ekuwem, who expressed the pleasure at the ground breaking ceremony for the road’s construction at Mkpot, also urged the people of Mkpot in Diaspora to continue to visit their homeland in spite of the poor road network to the area.
He said that, efforts by the people of Mkpot community to have an access road had failed for several decades because successive administrations in the state did not oblige their request.
The Archbishop also said that he was pleased that the people of the area did not relent in their quest to have an access road which culminated in the ground breaking performed by him on March 30.
Ekuwem also narrated his first experience while trying to get to Mkpot on Pastoral visit on foot.
“On my first day, I was told the journey will take us six hours from Ntebachot junction, but I finally made it with my entourage in 10 good hours. We prayed and of course rested as we embarked on the journey.’’
He said that currently there were no mobile telephone services from Nigeria in the area except that of Cameroun.
“There is no Nigeria network. What we received is Orange Network from Cameroon. We were happy that at least we can make international calls. I pray that God should keep us all gathered here today to witness the completion of this road in Jesus Name Amen”.
“The road when completed will not only be to the benefit of Mkpot alone buy to the entire Akamkpa local government.
“I have seen the plight of Mkpot people without an access road. I wish it were possible for me to do it alone, but I will console you by saying `where there is a will, there is a way; One with God is in majority’,”.
He urged the people of Mkpot not to abandon their village because of non-availability of access road adding that “God has intervened and He shall see to the completion of this road”.
Also speaking, the chairman of the community road project, Dr Lawrence Oba Mgbangson, recalled the genesis of several attempts to get approval for the road, adding that Mkpot is one of the enclave communities located in and around the Cross River National Park.
He said the isolation of Mkpot community by road dated back to 1933 when the Oban Hills Forest was gazetted as a reserved forest while the community.
According to him Mkpot community started the process of having a road in 1988 to relief themselves from the hardship they experienced due to its remoteness, inaccessibility by motorcade among others.
Mgbangson said the community which produces cocoa and large quantities of banana has a population of more than 2000 people within the centre of the national park.
He thanked God that the wishes of the community had been realised and appealed to well-meaning Nigerians to support the community to complete the self-help project on time.
In his remarks, the chairman Mkpot Development association, Mr. Emmanuel Obu, said that with the flag off of the road construction the people of Mkpot have taken their destiny in their hands and solicited for collaboration, partnership and support from all and sundry to complete the project.
He said that government alone could not provide all the needs of the community hence the idea of embarking on the project.
Earlier, the Community Relations Officer Mr Kenneth Ndifon, commended the people of Mkpot for coming together to embark on the self-help project.
He expressed hope that before the completion of the road the state and federal governments would intervene to further realise the dream of Mkpot community for a motorable road.
Mkpot community is located in Ikpai ward in the heart of the Cross River rain forest in Akamkpa.