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22 YEARS HISTORICAL REVIEW OF ETARA / EKURI PEOPLE, By Thomas Ifere

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THOMAS IFERE Have mercy on me, God, because men have harassed me.                                      Those who oppress me have fought...

THOMAS IFERE
Have mercy on me, God, because men have harassed me.                                    
Those who oppress me have fought against me  all day long.
But, I know you would continue to guide & protect me from their evil plans.
Distinguished Comrades,God never consults your past and determine your future. Stop taking journeys into yesterday.             
For decades now, many People  have mocked and laughed over the thought of a horseless carriage.
The people of Etara /Ekuri have been abandoned, we have been mocked, we have been hurt physically and emotionally, we have survived a lot of trauma, we have been robbed of several opportunities by the government.
We still carry on as one united front.
This is because all  extraordinary achievers have  been misjudged.                            
We are the creation of God, made in his image & we shall not be moved, as a united people.
However, I would like to add here that I am not a student of History, so forgive me if my writing does not meet your expectation.
Before I proceed on the subject matter, please permit me to pay tribute to two great Distinguished Personalities who fought for the total emancipation of the Etara / Ekuri people.
HRM(Ntufam) Brian Nta Ifere & Hon(Ntufam) Patrick Oku Okang both of blessed memory played a very important role in unifying the people of Etara / Ekuri.
They worked tirelessly to develope these communities.
They were both Phillantropists per excellence.
They could go to the extent of depriving their own families to solve the problems of the Etara / Ekuri person or visitors.
When it was time for them to reap the fruits of their labour, they chosed to be with their creator.
The mystery behind their mission on earth was unravel when they came, they fought & conquered.
They decided to meet with their creator in the same year.
While Ntufam Brian Ifere died in January 2014 @ 79, Ntufam Patrick Okang died in November of the same year @ 59.
They died at a time when their services were mostly needed, leaving the affairs of these communities to us their younger generations.
We miss them greatly.
Our consolation is that they died in the Lord and we shall one day meet to part no more & give them account of our stewardship.
Before unraveling 22 years history of these communities that I can remember, I would like to give an overview of what these communities are.
The people of Etara / Ekuri Eyeyeng communities are in the present day Abidjang ward of Etung Local Government area of Cross River State.                                                                                    
There are two communities with different origin, but, with very unique characteristics, having lived together for a very long time without any crises.       
Abidjang ward, which they both belong to, is in the present day Southern Etung faction in Etung Local Government Area of Cross River State and it is made up of ten wards.                                                                                                                            
The people of Etara have the same origin with the other communities that make up the present Southern Etung.                                                                                  
These communities are: Abidjang, Nsofang, Achiarum, Itaka, Agbotai, Mkpot, while the Ekuri Eyeyeng people have their origin from the Ekuri speaking communities that make up Obubra, Akamkpa, and Ikom local government areas. Such communities are: Edondon, Owai, Okokori, and Akam villages respectively.                                                         
Even though, these communities have different origin, they have been able to live together as brothers and sisters for quite a long time.                                                                                     
However, before the creation of the present Etung Local Government Area in 1996, the people of Ekuri were grouped under Olulumo ward, that comprises Akam and Okuni communities, while the Etara community was grouped under Southern Etung ward, which comprises other villages in Southern Etung                                                                                                                                  
The people of Etara / Ekuri communities are bordered in the North by the Nsofang/ neighbouring communities, the south by Odongit / Issabang and neighbouring communities, the East by the Edondon/ Okokori and neighbouring communities, and in the west by the Akam / Okuni and neighboring communities.                                                                                                                            
It might surprise you to note that despite their origin, they are the only communities in Etung Local Government Area that have a unique geographical location.
They are in the midst of Obubra, Ikom and Etung Local Government Areas respectively.                                                                                                                                   
The people  are predominantly farmers, and farm on different crops such as cocoa, yam, bush mango, cassava, and other economic crops.                                                              
Other communities that were together with them  at a location near the Onughi hills in the present day Etara, decided to go to the river- rine areas, for easy access of transportation.
This is so because it was easier to go by canoe those days.                                             
The people of Etara decided to stay in their present location, probably because of the presence of the stream (Okpon) that was found by one of their great grandparents.                                           
A great hunter, who in the course of his hunting expedition found out that this stream, was never dried up during the dry season.                                                                 
Etara / Ekuri communities are one of those communities in Cross River State that have never felt the presence of the State or Federal government until in November 2015, when one of their son, Comrade Asu Okang was appointed Commissioner for Youths & Sport.                          
These communities have always tried through communal effort, and sometimes through little help coming from the Local Government Area.                                                                    
They dont have the basic necessities to life, no accessible road network, no markets, no schools, no health centres, and no electricity to boost the economic life of the people etc.                                          
This has really been the situation of the Etara / Ekuri people in Etung Local Government Area of Cross River State who have been abandoned for a very long time by the government .
If  it is true that in Cross River State, the development of the states tourism potential remains the core of the state government strategy for development.                                                                 
Despite the presence of some established tourist sites, there are also more tourist sites and natural resources in Cross River State, which has remained untapped. This is either because the government is not aware, or has abandoned these resources.           
However, I have written severally to educate the government on this.                                                                            
These untapped natural resources will help boost the Gross Domestic Product of Cross River State and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.                                                                                                         
Sequel to 1994, the people of Etara / Ekuri had always trekked by foot, a distance of 20 kilometers from Ochon village, in Obubra Local Government area.                                                                 
This journey usually took about five hours.                                                                                                                               
Through their communal effort, they approached a Chinese Company, Bolex Nigeria Ltd in 1994 which made a trunk road for them.                                                                        
This road got to these communities on the 11th day of March, 1994.
Today marks 22 years anniversary when the people first got their trunk road.
It was not for free, it cost the communities some fortunes.
They had to part with a lot of timber to the company from which they made billions.
Let me use this opportunity to thank Lady Kate Ogim, whom it was through her effort that Bolex Nigeria Limited got to these communities.
Since then, efforts by these communities to the government and well meaning Nigerians to at least give these communities an accessible road has proved abortive.                                                                            
The communities are blessed with a lot of natural resources which have not been tapped, neither have they been explored.                                               
The  people are Christians.                                                                                                   
This may be as a result of the early influence of missionaries, as the people cherish their culture, as well as revere their ancestors.                       
In  2013, 19 years after the first effort to have a trunk road to Etara / Ekuri communities, the European Union reconstructed the 20 kilometer road from Odongit village to Etara / Ekuri Communities.        
22 years today, this road is in a state of disrepair and we need the intervention of the government, investors & concerned Nigerians.     

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