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Calabar Municipality

LOCATION AND SIZE:
Calabar Municipality lies between latitude 04° 15' and 5° N and longitude 8° 25' E. in the North, the Municipality is bounded by Odukpani Local Government Area in the North-East by the great Kwa River. Its Southern shores are bounded by the Calabar river and Calabar South Local Government Area. It has an area of 331.551 square kilometres.

Calabar Municipal Government Area plays a dual role. Apart from being the Capital city of Cross river State, it also plays its role as headquarters of the Southern Senatorial District.

There are ten wards in the local government, viz:-

  1. WARD 1
  2. WARD 2
  3. WARD 3
  4. WARD 4
  5. WARD 5
  6. WARD 6
  7. WARD 7
  8. WARD 8
  9. WARD 9
  10. WARD 10

THE LAND AND ITS PEOPLE:
Two ethnic groups form the indigenous population. These are the Quas and the Efiks. However, because of its cosmopolitan status, there abound people from all parts of the state and Nigeria in the city.

OCCUPATION:
By virtue of its location along the waterfront, the Efiks embraced Western culture. They carried on successful trade with early Europeans. Fishing is another occupation identified with them. The Quas on the other hand occupy the bulk of the hinterland of Calabar where farmers, hunters, traders and blacksmiths are found.

BACKGROUND HISTORY:
Calabar is the capital city of Cross River State as well as the headquarters of the Municipal Government. This community has witnessed several administrative changes. It was the capital of the southern protectorate of Nigeria and lost that position to Lagos in 1904. Following the establishment of the then regions, Calabar became one of the earliest seats of Local Government administration in the then Eastern Region up to 1952, under the Local Government ordinance of 1950. the first elections into the Calabar Urban District Council were held in 1952 when the late Mr. Benjamin Ekaluo and late Barrister Essien Kooffreh emerged Chairman and Vice Chairman respectively. Chief Eniang Essien subsequently replaced Mr. Ekaluo as Chairman.

AGRICULTURE:
The main policy thrust on agriculture of the Calabar Municipal Government is the overall increase in productivity and food production with emphasis on crop production and improvement; livestock and fisheries development; and the general extension of relevant agricultural information and services to farmers. In pursuance of this policy, the Municipal Council Farms Limited was established in 1999 following the leasing arrangement with the State Government. It occupies an area of three hundred and thirty-seven (337) hectares and is a scheme which serves as a model and centre for agricultural research in addition to the objective of food production. Thus the Calabar Farms Limited has established its food crop programme with bias on root/tuber crops and plantation tree crop. The major crops cultivated are cassava and oil palm trees. In recent past, the Calabar Municipal Government has also been a guarantor for agricultural loans for serious small farmers in the Municipal Government Area. Although finance alone is not a panacea to low agricultural development, the Council still intends to accord it priority despite constraints, while at the same time encouraging farmers to pay up their loans.

POVERTY ALLEVIATION PROGRAMME:
Poverty alleviation is a policy thrust of the Federal, State and Local Governments borne out of the desire to empower youths and make them self-reliant instead of over-dependence on white collar jobs and thereby reduce rural urban drift.

As a policy which touches on the populist philosophy of the leadership in the Municipality, the Chairman of the Municipal Government Hon. Edet Okon Asim has left no stone unturned with a view to making it effective. He has constructed the Calabar Municipal Vocational Training Centre (VTC). The edifice habours:

  • Auto – Mechanic Workshop
  • Carpentry Workshop
  • Welding Workshop
  • Sewing Workshop
  • Hair Dressing Workshop
  • Computer Information System

Already fifty (50) youths of Calabar Municipal origin have gained admission into the VTC. The training programme will last for one year.

WOMEN DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME:
The present women development unit in the Municipal Council exists mainly to co-ordinate and develop women affairs and programmes within the council area.

Since inception its leadership headed by Mrs. Margaret Asim has initiated far reaching policies and programmes for the general good of women in the Municipality. In other words, the unit exists to compliment efforts of the Council especially as these affect social welfare, health, education and agriculture.

Worthy of mention is the “Health on Wheels” programme. This quarterly programme which is aimed at taking health care services to the people in the municipality has gained wide acceptance and popularity. It is people oriented and a response to the social need of the area. Within one of it’s field operations for instance, vaccines, drugs and health personnel were moved in vans from ward to ward and town criers used to mobilize the community to take advantage of health care at their doorsteps. The programme paid off as there were cases of delivery, minor surgery and referrals in major cases. Under the women agricultural programme, the women of the municipality now boast of six plots of pineapple at the council’s pineapple farms.

The unit has embarked on training programme for women in the area. Mention must be made of the three-week workshop on arts and craft organized by the unit in an effort to expose the women to skill acquisition.

Under its social programme, the unit sponsored campaigns to check the spread of the dreaded HIV/AIDS virus. It also visited and made donations to he less privileged in the Local Government Area.

But perhaps, the hallmark of the units efforts aimed at development is the reactivation of the abandoned Garri Processing Factory located at the densely populated raw materials producing area of Ikot Omin. The factory which was abandoned soon after its commissioning in 1998 will now serve the interest of the women farming population within its catchment area.