By Our Reporter
Bekwarra is a Local Government Area in northern Cross River State, Nigeria. Its headquarters is Abuochiche. It occupies a total land area of 306 km²
The primary occupation of the people is farming. Their main crops being yam and groundnut. Indigenes of the area are very peace loving and hospitable.
Despite being blessed with very friendly weather, most indigenes of Bekwarra live without access to water. Residents say they trek very long distance before they can get water to drink and for other domestic purposes.
The Parchment reporters took a tour to the local government, which is more than 5 hours drive from Calabar, the state capital.
We spoke with Mrs. Rose Ushama, from Ugboro a sleepy village not far from the LGA headquarters, Abuocheche. She narrated what their pains has been, trying to get water around the area. “Here water is a luxury. We don’t have water. If you go to a house where there is a borehole to get water, it is very expensive to buy”
In places like Ukpa, Bibo Okim and the rest, access to portable water is only a dream far away.
Lack of electricity supply is one of the main reasons for lack of water in most villages according to residents. In some areas “you don’t see light at all. Even when it comes in a long time. It will not be able to even charge your phone” a resident, identified simply as Odidi told our reporter.
Why High Cost Of Sachet Water
A popular water producer in the local government council, Ushie Table Water, highlighted high cost of materials and lack of power supply as some of the reasons for the high cost of sachet water in the area.
Mr. David, Manager of Ushie Table Waters, a popular water factory in the LGA said “we go as far as Onisha, Lagos to source for our materials, so how do you expect us to sell at a lower price?
“We buy diesel for over N750 and you think we will not hike our price? He asked.
A tour of the 10 wards in the LGA proves near total absence of portable water.
In Nyanya Ulim, a busy community located along the major highway leading up to Benue state in north central Nigeria, a team of The Parchment reporters bought a bag of pure water for N300 a far cry from the N200 obtained in the state capital, Calabar.
Our reporters also noticed that government’s presence in some of the communities visited is largely absent, as most communities lack basic hand pumped water. Most villagers depend on local streams as source of water to solve their domestic needs.
In some areas where there is borehole, 20 liters of water is sold for N30.
Apart from water scarcity, some of the women who spoke with our reporter, complained of lack of basic quality education for their children as well as good health facilities.
Our reporters also discovered that food availability and affordability in the area is a cause for concern. Despite being a major producer of groundnut in the state, a cup of groundnut is sold for about N200, against N150 in most areas including Calabar the state capital.
Bekwarra LGA is an important evacuation corridor linking Cross River state with northern Nigeria.
Residents appealed to the sate government to come to their aide by providing basic amenities that, will ease the cost of living in the area.