Ikot Oko Idio Offot: Community At Risk Of Extinction

By Charles Ebong


Ikot Oko ldio Offot, a community in Uyo Local Government Area, may be deleted from the map of Akwa lbom State if urgent measures are not taken to rescue it from the menace of flood and erosion currently ravaging and threatening its existence.
The community, which is adjacent to Etim Okon Usanga and Anua erosion sites, two major erosion sites within Uyo Capital Territory, is a legally gazetted village in Akwa lbom State Traditional Rulers Edict and other official documents of the State government.
One of the 22 villages in Offot Ukwa Clan, Ikot Oko ldio Offot has a recognized village head, Eteidung Oliver Edet Etim and once produced a councilor in Uyo Local Government Council who represented Ward Seven in Offot Usung Ifiayong. Located behind the famous St. Lukes Hospital Anua, the village has as it neighbours Eniong Offot, Ekpri Nsukara and lkot Ntuen Offot communities.
Residents of the village can sight the Governor’s Lodge, separated from them by a tiny river named Esuk Mbakara, translated as “white man’s beach.” It is said that the colonial masters (Mbakara) who administered Uyo used to have their bath in the stream.
Another major noticeable feature in the community is a large ravine which has eaten up a greater portion of its arable land. Though Ikot Oko ldio is found within Uyo metropolis, it has not been lucky to attract any government presence. Some modern amenities found in the area, electricity, water, etc, which have given the community an ambience of a civilized society, are through communal efforts of the natives and residents. There are about 15000 residents, mostly civil servants.
The former councilor, Hon. Sebastian Okon Effiong, told Crystal Express during a visit that past governments only remember the community during elections. According to Effiong, “once elections are over, we are forgotten. We have never been remembered in terms of infrastructure, even to grade roads.” His views were supported by the Youth President, Peace Bassey Okon, who regretted that despite the massive support to every ruling government in the State, “none has ever kept to its promise of providing the community with amenities like good roads.” Okon said that the existence of the village is continually under serious threat of flood and erosion menace.
One other major challenge facing Ikot Oko ldio Community is access road. The difficulties encountered by the 15000 inhabitants are better imagined than experienced. The two major roads leading to the area-Ikot Ntia and Mission Roads are currently in very deplorable condition. Some residents who spoke to Crystal Express, however, blamed the situation on politics, explaining that the roads were manageable until a federal interventionist agency drafted a contractor to the area months before the last electioneering campaigns. “There was jubilation as we woke up one morning sometime last year to see some people pegging, excavating and constructing the drains. But to our amazement, both the men and equipments vanished some weeks later. And till now, they have not returned. Unfortunately, we did not know the contractor.”
The poor condition of roads in the community has forced some residents to park their vehicles many meters away from their houses, thus exposing the cars to vandalisation. A story was told how 10 car owners lost their batteries one night. To avoid this, residents who park their vehicles outside, have resorted to carrying home the batteries every evening.
While speaking with Crystal Express, the youth leader, Comrade Peace Okon appealed to the State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, to be different from past administrations and come to the aid of their community by providing access roads as well as a school for the community. He also called on the Governor to direct relevant government agency to check the menacing erosion and flood threatening the community and its neighbours – Ikot Ntuen, Ekpri Nsukara and Ikot Anyan.
“Since the return of democracy in 1999, we have been giving the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, 100 percent support during elections. We are very peaceful people. I appeal to the Governor to come to our aid. We need government presence-access roads, school, health centre, transformers, police post, etc,” he stated.

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