BY: VITALIS UGOH, Calabar
The Akwa Esuk Iyamba community in Akpabuyo local government area of Cross River State, have applauded the council chairman, Hon. Offiong Bassey, for awarding contract for the grading of the Akwa Esuk Iyamba road.
The road which is about two kilometers long had remained abandoned for over 20 years by successive governments until the Senator Ben Ayade’s administration.
The road, according to our investigation was the only root that linked Calabar and Akpabuyo during the Slave Trade era leaving a trade by barter market in that community.
As part of his campaign promises that he will open up rural roads, Hon. Offiong, said that Akwa Esuk Iyamba village road as well as others came to his mind as a priority project.
According to him, “available record shows that this particular road has been abandoned for years without any government attention “.
“We as a council has decided to take governance to the at the grassroots as dividend of democracy “.
However, he said, “we have limitations, as to the level of work we so because of lean finances of council”.
Therefore, on behalf of Akpabuyo local government council, I humbly appeal to our digital governor Senator Prof. Ben Ayade to assist us to tar the road after grading.
Bassey lauded the ongoing road construction embarked upon by the Ayade led administration across the state and prayed God to give the grace to complete and commission them.
He declared “Akpabuyo people are proud of you. We shall continue to support all your laudable programmes
Expressing his joy over the refilling and grading of the road, a community leader Mr. Effiong Nyong, recalled that the road had been abandoned for many years without any successive governments thinking about it.
We want to thank the chairman of Akpabuyo for remembering us today. It was a death trip as many villagers have lost their lives while trying to get to their home especially in the night, he added”.
He appealed to the state government to assist the council having done thus far by refilling and reclaiming the vast part of the road which was eaten by erosion. What we need are gutters by the two sides of the road after it is tarred to sustain its life span. Opening up the more than 20 years road which had been abandoned is a big relief to the entire community”.
Paramount Ruler, His Royal Majesty, Etinyin Maurice E. E. Nta, Clan Head of Edem Odo clan also expressed joy over the development, adding this was the only root our forefathers came from Calabar to Akpabuyo before the Edet Ekeng swamp called Atimbo road today during the slave trade era. This was the first road or root and there was a “trade by barter market” known as “Uruwa Esumba market”. It was called Ebon Christian. The German were all living along the beach too”.
“The Germans were the ones who brought Christianity in our village. That area is called Akwa Esuk Iyamba village”.
The road got to that state as a result of water from Edem Odo village that runs down through the road and caused a big erosion that had existed for 20 years without any successive government attention except this administration.
According to him, “several attempts to get the attention of government failed “as we were told, it is a federal government road. This made us to appeal to Akpabuyo local government council to come to our aid hence this intervention”.
He thanked God that the council has come to their aid and appealled to the state government to support the council to do a good job. Aside, grading of the road, there should be drainage by both sides for sustainability of the road.
The road, he added, should also be tarred for durability . The job is above the local government as it needs urgent state government intervention
Also speaking, High Chief Ekpo Duke, lauded the chairman of council for embarking on the grading and refilling of the over two kilometer road.
This community as a whole appreciates the council chairman so much because we have had alot of council chairmen, House of Assembly, National Assembly representatives, but nobody had remembered this abandoned but all important road.
“Akwa Esuk Iyamba is one of the major beaches in Nigeria. The beach had existed since 17th century. That is the only root and road for slave trade market in those days. The White man had a wharf where their slave trade ships berth. There was also a bridge down the beach, he said.
The bridge collapsed because we are minority. They neglected us and we had nobody to speak for us. Up till today, the trade by barter market is still existing.
He expressed happiness seeing the road been graded. We need a quality and durable road. I am also appealing to the state government through our able Digital governor Senator Ben Ayade to support the council to do a good job. The community should have been developed into a tourism site to generate revenue to the state government as well as to the council, he noted.
Also speaking, a retired military personnel, Chief Bassey Edim, called on all sons and daughters from Akwa Esuk Iyamba to cooperate with the council to see that the road was tarred to sustain the job.
He lauded the state government as well as council for remembering the road in their budget and prayed for God’s grace upon their lives.
As at the time our correspondent visited the community, the contractor was busy on site.