Nkwot group of 24 villages is an inconspicuous community in Ikono Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. For years, this agrarian area has experienced sundry natural disasters such as floods, water-borne diseases due to lack of pipe-borne water and health centers to access treatment, the only health center that exists for the entire 24 villages is without personnel and drugs.

However, the most debilitating among its experiences is flood after any torrential rainfall. Any time the sky frowns or the clouds seem to gather, their hearts miss some beats.

For instance, now that the rains are here, residents of the Nkwot community are worried because such a situation evokes their previous unpalatable experiences.

The community, which comprises 24 villages and other adjacent communities has been battling to survive the incidence of torrential downpour each year.

According to them, apart from the menace of rain, the deplorable roads situations have added to the plight of the people as the community is completely disconnected from other communities in the area, the two bridges in the village – one linking the access to the community from Ikot Ekpene LGA known as Nkwot Nung Imo/Ikot Akpa Isiak bridge secured by Sir Tony Afia a renowned banker of repute to his people is in a total deplorable breakdown status and the other one connecting the community from Ini LGA, known as Nkwot Iton bridge is made up of planks from a palm tree and can only cross motorcycles and bicycles.

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The community lacks government presence, secondary schools are in a dilapidated state, one among the top schools in the area that had so far produces prominent personalities in Nigeria is the prestigious St. Mary’s Secondary School, Nkwot Ikot Nseyen which is today a ‘no-go-area’ in terms of learning environments.

In the light of this, the residents while pleading with Governor Udom Emmanuel to rescue the community with basic amenities also resorted to a self-help project on communal road repair which may not last for years due to the topography of the area coupled with the equipment used for the road construction.

Residents, through their leader Sir Tony Afia want the government to take proactive measures to save them from further pains and suffering.

Afia said after the recent downpour, the roads were in a state of disrepair and the inhabitants of the community had been cut off from other communities, if not for the help of others in the community coordinated through Engr. Cyril Atang to raise money for the repair of some kilometers of the road in the community.

He added that education was grossly undermined, leading to the poor academic learning environment and lack of road for students to access school occasioned by a heavy downpour.

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“I cry with tears when I see the plight of my people, I started struggling for this road construction in 1987 with the help of the then Cross River State government who directed Sen. Ndoma Egba who was the commissioner for works to assist me with some materials, since then till the return of democracy in 1999 series of government including Gov Victor Attah my very good friend to that of Gov Udom Emmanuel have been paying lips services to our plight.

“There is no year that I have not written to Gov Udom Emmanuel for assistance on the road but to no avail, even when we put in all our effort for his two-term election, last he referred me to meet with Prof. Eno Ibanga but till date, his Commissioner for works is on the avoiding page which I will soon write him back”, he said.

Corroborating Afia’s assertion, a member of the community Dr. Emmanuel Akpanobong said Nkwot is facing extreme cases of difficulties, “we have to share ideas on how to develop Nkwot and our people.
I feel inspired by the initiative, coordination, and supervision provided by our brother, Engr. Cyril Attang, in making a reasonably motorable road for us from Ukpom to Nkwot. We are asking God to bless him and all the other contributors to the project.”

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Explaining further on the efforts to make the community liveable he said, “While this project is going on another project that cannot wait is education. You can approach it from any angle. To say education is everything is not an exaggeration. It can open every door. It can take one to any part of the world. It makes people humble, governable, peaceful and development-conscious. My dream is to see every Nkwot child and youth acquiring reasonable education between now and the next 20 years. Share in this dream by bringing out your ideas on this platform.

“My first idea is for us to look into the state of affairs in St Mary’s Secondary School, Ikot Nseyen, and any other secondary school in Nkwot and see how to help. For St Mary’s Secondary School, I remember with nostalgia how the school was in our days; with a large students population, good teachers, boarding facilities, accommodation in the compound for the principal, his vice and other teachers, rich libraries, science laboratories, sports facilities and the exploits we were making in inter-school competitions in sports, cultural dances and schools challenge competition, ” he said.

©Emmanuel Ufon