Water Makes Us Sick - Akwa Ibom Community
Ekpene Eki, is a community in Odukpani Local Government Area of Cross River State, one of Nigeria’s oil producing states, but the community lacks basic amenities.
A journey to the community is an difficult one, as a tarred road leading to the area terminates at Okurikang junction, forcing every traveller to consider another mode of transportation – a bike.
It is a community cut off from development and civilisation.
For almost an hour, every bike travels on a rocky and narrow route into the community, an experience that gives every traveller a feeling of what the community dwellers go through.
A village lacking water, health centre and even schools, stares you in the face, with evidences of open defecation practice within the community.
One major issue of concern is the water that the community dwellers drink, something that residents link a flagrant sight of children with big belly to.
They all go to the stream, their only source of water, to get the contaminated water for drinking and cooking. Most dwellers do not boil the water before they drink it.
A sad indigene of the community, Samuel Okon, who wondered when help would come to them, said: "The reason that I am not happy is that, look at the kind of water that we are drinking. This is the only source of water we have in the whole of this community and it is a very serious problem to us. Everything is falling inside and we are also drinking it and people are putting their leg inside. We are dying with this kind of water".
Expecting more and more diseases
Attributing health issues in the community to the bad water, the Head of Ekpene Eki, Etubom Ndowong, pleaded with the government to provide them with portable water and construction of a road into the community with most of its dwellers peasant farmers.
Highlighting government’s efforts to provide the community needed basic amenities, the Director General of the Cross River State Primary Health Care Development Agency Dr. Betta Edu, described the situation in Ekpene Eki as an eyesore that did not represent what the Cross River State government stood for.
“The governor recently released some money to RUWASA, the water agancy and they have been given the mandate to build boreholes in every community. This was done late last year and I would go back to that office to work together with them to ensure that, this community receives priority and in the next two months they can have a beautiful source of drinking water for this community," Dr. Edu promised.
Confirming claims of the residents that the water was making them ill, she said: "You cannot count the nameless diseases that would come to our children, to everyone in this community when they drink from this water. Of course, this community is not even open-defecation-free and so, we are even expecting more and more diseases, the list is endless”.
At this time, the community will be most delighted to have a good water source, as this will go a long way in ensuring that they are alive while they also await other amenities needed to make life interesting in the community.