By; VITALIS UGOH, Calabar
For several decades, efforts by the people of Mkpot community in Akamkpa Local Government Area of Cross River to have an access road had failed as previous administrations had denied them such requests.
Not deterred by this ugly scenario, the people kept on with their determination and courage to have a road to reduce the sufferings of both young and old people in the community.
However, after several years of struggle to get approval to commence the construction of a community based road, God used His servant, His Grace, the Most Rev. Dr. Joseph Ekuwem, Archbishop of Catholic Diocese of Calabar to intervene.
No wonder then, penultimate March 30th, 2017, His Grace Dr..Ekuwem was personally present to perform the official ground breaking of the ever access road to Mkpot community.
Performing the exercise, Ekuwem who narrated his first experience while trying to get to Mkpot on Pastoral visit on foot said “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 ten good hours. We prayed and of course rested as we embarked on the journey”.
He said “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, who had chronicled the genesis of several attempts to get approval for the road recalled that Mkpot village is one of the enclave village located in and around the Cross River National Park.
He said the isolation of Mkpot community dated 1933 when the Oban Hills Forest was gazetted as a reserved forest while the community in 1988 started the process of having a road.
Mgbangson said the idea of the road was the relief themselves from the hardship they were going through because of its remoteness, inaccessibility by motorcade and lack of economic activities.
The community, he added, produces cocoa and large quantities of banana with over 2000 population was denied approval for an access road because it found itself at the heart of the park.
He thanked God that approval for the construction of a 24 kilometre road and appealed to well meaning Nigerians to support the community to complete the self help project on time. Today’s ground breaking is to enable Mkpot people to realise their dreams.
In his remarks, the chairman Mkpot Development association, Mr. Emmanuel Obu, said “today we have decided to take our destiny in our hands and solicited collaboration, partnership and support from all and sundry to complete the project”.
He recalled that government alone cannot 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 this self help project.
He expressed hope that before the completion of the road, there is every indication that both the state and federal governments would likely send an intervention towards the realisation of our dream.
Mkpot community is located in Ikpai ward in Akamkpa local government and in the heart of the Cross River rain forest.