By Aniedi UKOENANG
The lack of basic amenities, unhygienic living conditions and in some cases total disconnection of oil producing communities in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area from the quality of life in urban centres have become a source of worry to the Council Chairman.
Hon. Ekanem Brown of Mkpat Enin Local Government Area expressed his ill feeling yesterday, Friday, 7th February 2020, at the location of a broken bridge in Ikot Ekong, Mkpat Enin LGA.
The Council Chairman had visited the community for a burial of one of his late constituent, Late Mr. Dominic AkpanAkpudoh, however, during a chit-chat with the youths and elders of the community after the event, Hon. Brown was hinted of a broken bridge that has totally disconnected the people of Ibotio and Ibotio Ndon communities from accessing the highways and major markets in Ikot Ekong. The Council boss instantly requested to be taken on a walk to the scene.
With berthed breath, the Council boss held on to the carcass of the supposed bridge that links Ibotio and Ndon Ibotio communities to major markets in Ikot Ekong and the highways, and on getting there, he beheld the unfortunate site of a major access bridge last constructed in 1962 but now completely impassable.
After successfully tiptoeing to the other side of the stream, Hon. Brown stood there, watching with scare as aged market women and kids shiver with goods on their heads as they walked on pieces of rods and very thin woods that helps only brave fellows to cross the dangerous ravin in order to access vital services.
In their speeches, elders of the communities appreciated the Council Chairman for obliging their impromptu demands to visit the location.
They disclosed that Ibotio is one of the earliest communities that oil and gas deposits were discovered and explored by the Federal Government and IOCs. They pleaded for quick action to end the incessant death of children and women who fall into the muddy ravine on their way to school and markets.
In his response, Hon. Brown pledged to work assiduously towards making the plight of the suffering communities known to relevant Federal and state authorities and to compel them to action.
Speaking further, he opined that there is massive deprivation and total neglect of coastal and oil producing communities in Mkpat Enin LGA with corked and uncorked oil wells by both the companies exploring resources and government at different levels.
In his words, “What I am seeing here is very sad. It is evident that the International Oil Companies have devised a means of sucking oils from communities through pipes in the sea and underground, hence, they do not care about access roads leading to their host communities.
“Unfortunately, as a Local Government, this project is beyond our capacity but I will ensure that I mount pressure on relevant Federal and state Government agencies to ensure that hope is restored to this community”.
The council boss also seized the opportunity to advise Mkpat Enin people to take economic advantage of the steady electric power supply currently enjoyed by most communities in the LGA courtesy of Ekim power substation.
While urging the people to continue to support Governor Udom Emmanuel, he advised that all Mkpat Enin people should engage in coconut planting as a way of positioning themselves to enjoy the economic boom that is expected when the coconut refinery located in the area becomes fully operational.