July 19, 2024

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This Is C’River’s Bekwarra LGA Where People Are Suffering, Smiling

5 min read

Chiemeka ADINDU, Calabar

Poverty among the rural poor has remained on the increase in Bekwarra, one of the local government areas in northern Cross River senatorial district which coincidentally happens to be the senatorial district of the current state governor, Senator Ben Ayade and the minister of power for state, Goddy Jeddy Agba. The situation seems unabating, largely as a result of lack of government’s presence, which has caused infrastructural decay in the entire local government area.
Lamenting the condition of the people to TNN, an indigene of the local government who is a lecturer at the department of mass communication, University of Calabar, Agaji Ntamu said Bekwarra had the least numbers of secondary schools in the state and maybe, in the country at large. He said the local government which has 10 political wards can boast of just six secondary schools in the entire local government area.

He also decried that the local government has been without electricity for 6 years. “As I speak with you, only two villages in Bekwarra have light and those villages are less than five per cent of the entire Bekwarra. One taps directly from Ogoja Local Government and the other one, Abuochiche is the smallest village in Bekwarra, I think they tap theirs either from Benue State or thereabout. But over 90 per cent of Bekwarra people are in total darkness. We don’t have light in Bekwarra since 2015. We have done everything, I have held my House of reps member accountable, he has gone on Facebook severally to lie that he has done so many things. We’ve done everything, we’ve even considered protest but we were scared it was going to be hijacked so we had to cancel it. We’ve written to NEPA, we’ve done everything.

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“What happened is this, the transformers that were there, due to the length of time most of the parts are damaged and then the village people knowing that those things have not been in use and that light will not come, they have gone there to steal most of those parts to sell in Benue state. We have nothing outside the police station and a small INEC office to prove we are an entity in Nigeria”, he bewailed.
He said the local government heaved a sigh of relief when their own was appointed as the minister of state for power, but that the situation had become more overwhelming as he has neglected them since his appointment. He appealed to the minister to come to their rescue as soon as possible.

In his appeal to the minister, he said: “Your rise from a noble and very humble background to a national figure has been a huge motivation and inspiration to me and most young persons across the state and beyond. Your glittering career at the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation ( NNPC) where you rose to the rank of a group managing director, before venturing into politics is a clear attestation of your professionalism, dedication and unblemished integrity.
“Sir, I believe your interest in politics wasn’t about yourself as a person, as has been in practice by most traditional politicians of our clime. This is because of the benefits of your illustrious career and your mastery in entrepreneurship with your chain of investments cutting across diverse sectors such as: agriculture, oil and gas etc. You have established yourself among the most successful Cross Riverians of all times. And as such, you do not depend on proceeds from any political office for survival.

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“It was in consideration of the above and your overall success in life, your proficiency to effectively manage your conglomerate of business that endeared you to many of us in 2015, during your gubernatorial interest. The clandestine plots that forestall your governorship ambition is still very painful, especially to those of us who had so much faith in your ingenuity to transform Cross River State completely. Thankfully, the president Muhammadu Buhari administration identified you like a goldfish you are that can never be hidden.
“Your appointment as an honourable minister of the federal republic of Nigeria came with wide jubilation and a sense of relief, being that your portfolio as one of the highest decision maker in the power sector will bring an end to the age long electricity challenges in Bekwarra LGA and its environs. We all believe your appointment was divine and answered prayer to the numerous prayers of the neglected and suffering people of Bekwarra LGA. Some of us have always held the notion that you possess a Midas Touch, as nothing ever spoils in your hands.

“However, Sir, years have come and gone, days are fast counting, Bekwarra is still in darkness. We’ve appealed to the state government and have utilized every avenue within our disposal, yet the story has remained the same. When your words of assurance to fix the electricity challenges in Bekwarra before December of 2020 got to us, many doubted it; due to the insincerity of government officials that is gradually becoming a new norm.
“A few of us who took the risk of believing you are now left disappointed, as Bekwarra is still in darkness. Our Youths who are into commercial activities like: Hair barbing, Shoe making, tailoring and fashion designing, etc are no longer in operation due to high cost of using generator sets. Six years of depending solely on generator sets is enough to completely bring any business to ruins, especially with the continuous rise in the cost of petrol. With the increasing rate of employment currently rocking the nation, what is the fate of these young ones?

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“Honourable, Sir, your Bekwarra brothers have never in their history endured six years of total blackout. Not even in the military era. If we cannot enjoy the pleasure of electricity now that we have you in charge, when can we ever be so lucky? If our own cannot help us then who else? About five electric poles have been down for years, one of the pole is supposed to connect electricity to the only health centre in the community. Currently, people are being operated upon and delivered of their babies with kerosene lanterns and most times touch lights, and in several cases with flash lights from nurses’ phones.

“Often times, people have died from preventable causes. Young mothers have lost their lives and that of their babies, due to poor lighting for proper medical procedures, occasioned by six years of no electricity. If we can’t do it due to political considerations, let’s do it for the sake of humanity and for the fact that we shall be accountable to God at the end of our sojourn on earth”.
Efforts were made to hear from the Member representing Bekwarra, Ubudu and Obanduliku at the National Assembly who is from Bekwarra, Ochiglegor Idagbo but he neither took his calls nor replied to messages as at the time this report was filed.

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