By Our Reporter
As part of efforts at fulfilling his campaign promises that he would open up community roads within the Council area, the Chairman of Akpabuyo local government area of Cross River State, Hon. Offiong Bassey, has indeed kicks-tarted road rehabilitation works on rural roads in the area.
Our Correspondent who visited the Akwa Esuk Iyamba community in Akpabuyo, reported that work was indeed ongoing with the grading of the over 2 km Akwa Esuk Iyamba road which had remained abandoned for over 20 years by successive governments.
Investigations indicated that the Akwa Esuk Iyamba road was the only route that linked Calabar and Akpabuyo during the slave trade era and was the leading trade by barter market in that axis of the State.
In a chat with our reporter, Hon. Offiong said Akwa Esuk Iyamba village road as well as others was in his mind as priority projects, adding “available record shows that this particular road has been abandoned for years without any government attention.
“We, as a council, have decided to take governance to the grassroots. We have limitations as to the level of works we could do due to lean finances of council but we will do what we can to help our people to take their farm produce to the markets.
“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.”
While lauding the ongoing road construction works embarked upon by the Ayade led administration across the state, he prayed God to give the Governor ability to complete and commission them.
“Akpabuyo people are proud of you, our dear Governor, and shall continue to support all your laudable programmes,” Bassey said.
Also speaking, the Paramount Ruler of Akpabuyo, His Royal Majesty, Etinyin Maurice Nta, expressed happiness with the Council for the ongoing works and prayed that one day the road would be asphalted.
.He said “this was the only route our forefathers used from Calabar to Akpabuyo during the slave trade era before the Edet Ekeng swamp called ‘Atimbo road’ today. This was the first road or route and there was a ‘trade by barter market’ here known then as ‘Urua Esumba market.”
Speaking on behalf of the Akwa Esuk Iyamba people, a community leader Mr Effiong Nyong, also lauded the council chairman for living up to expectation within few months in office.
“We want to thank the chairman of Akpabuyo for remembering us today. It was a death trap as many villagers have lost their lives while trying to get to their home especially in the night.
“Now that the council has gone this far with the refilling and reclaiming of the vast part of the road which was eaten by erosion, I appeal to the state government to give a helping hand. What we need are gutters by the two sides of the road after it is tarred to sustain its life span,” he stated.
In his remarks, High Chief Duke, said “this community as a whole appreciates the council chairman so much because we had a lot 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 route and road for slave trade market in those days. The White man had a wharf where their slave trade ships berthed. There was also a bridge down the beach.
The bridge collapsed and that was the end of the story. They neglected us and we had nobody to speak for us. Up till today, the trade by barter market is still existing.
“We need a quality and durable road. I am also appealing to our 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.