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Etung Local Government Area

INTRODUCTION
Etung Local Government Area is in the Central Senatorial District of Cross River State and was carved out from the former Ikom Local Government Area in 1996. The headquarters is at Effraya. It has a land mass of 833.07 square kilometers, and shares an international boundary with the Republic of Cameroon to the East. It is bounded in the North by the Ikom Local Government in the south by Obubra and Akamkpa local Government Areas. In addition, Etung has 16 clans and over 300 villages.

There are ten local political wards:

  1. Abia
  2. Abijang
  3. Agbokim
  4. Ajassor
  5. Bendeghe Ekiem
  6. Effraya
  7. Etomi
  8. Itaka
  9. Mkpot
  10. Nsofang

LANGUAGE
The people of Etung Local Government Area speak the Etung dialect of the Ejagham Language.

CULTURE/TRADITION:
The rich culture heritage of the people of Etung is well known. They use Dundun drums, wooden gongs at festivals and annual traditional yam festivals. There are also title holding societies like the Mgbe to ensure that power and authority are maintained. Those who pass through Mgbe initiation can be trusted in matters of wars and political decision-making management of homes or human relations.

The Etung people like most other groups in Cross River State are said to be of the Bantu race, who are believed to have migrated from Central Africa to their present abode.

HISTORY:
Christianity is predominant in Etung Local Government Area because of the influence of early missionaries. Generally, the people cherish their culture and revere their ancestors.

EDUCATION:
Etung Local Government Area has 21 primary schools, nine Day Care schools, Six Secondary Schools, One Technical Schools, a Science School, eleven Adult Education centers and Fifteen Health Care Centres to cater for.

ECONOMY:
Blessed with abundant human and agricultural resources such as cocoa, plantain, cassava oil palm, maize, coconut palm, maize, coconut palm banana, cocoyam, okro cucumber, pumpkin and yam, Etung is predominantly an agricultural area with arable fertile land. It is the highest producer of cocoa in the state and second in the country, which made it imperative for the establishment of the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN) at Ajassor, Etung LGA.

There are vast hectares of cocoa, banana, plantain, oil palm both government and privately owned estates, which account for the economic development of the area.

The Cross River provides the major source of water and fishing ground for all the communities and also a major route for the conveyance of both people and cargos.

The Abia Salt derived from the Ejagham Lake provides raw materials for salt production at both individual and commercial levels.

Etung also falls into the support zone area of the National park with potentials for tourism as well as preservation of endangered species of plants and animals that can only be found in the zone.

Etung Local Government Area offers a wide range of investment opportunities for indigenous, private and corporate investors. The forest in the area could be exploited for the development and sourcing of industrial raw materials such as timber, ceramics paper and bricks, chlorine, sodium and brine, raffia palm and cane which are essential material for making chairs and trays etc.

To guard against the wanton exploitation of the local farmers, the council introduced standardized measurement in the sale of agricultural products for mutual benefit and understanding of both Buyers and Sellers. The Council has also injected fresh Blood into the ETUNG MARKETING AUTHORITY to make it more viable, functional and acceptable to Etung people.

COMMERCIAL ACTIVITIES:
To encourage rapid industrialization of the area, Dr. Onor administration emphasizes self-reliance through maximum use of local raw materials and the intensification of commercial activities to boost internally generated revenue accruable to council. Thus, council has intensified effort at construction of markets, parks and such other facilities that would consolidate development for Etung people.

To achieve the most desired economic emancipation of the people, council has put in place a blue print, which is being religiously implemented through the opening, up grading and rehabilitation of a comprehensive network of roads across the local government area for easy evacuation of food and cash crops.

It is believed that commercial activities will get a boost when the Area is linked to the national grid through the state governments rural electrification programme. Recognizing that commerce is the bedrock of any meaningful industrial growth through the provision of adequate infrastructure, availability of financial institutions and a friendly climate, council has moved swiftly to create a favourably enabling environment for potential investors to tap the unquantifiable investment opportunities in the Local Government Area. Such potentials include a commercial bank at Bendeghe, which makes the area a veritable area for banking investment and insurance business etc. Council’s petrol station at Effraya to ease the hardship suffered by motorists plying the area is nearing completion.

ROADS:
Committed to the provision of infrastructure that would enhance the living standards of the people, council has rehabilitated the Ajassor – Agbokim waterfalls road, the Effraya Etomi road and the Abia-agbokim roads. This, it is hoped would enhance easy evacuation of produce from these major cocoa producing communities of the Local Government Area.

HEALTH:
Ntufam Dr. Sandy Onor’s led administration places high priority of this sector because “health is wealth” and also considering the importance both the federal and state governments attached to health care delivery. The administration has done this through the construction of health centers at Abijang, Mkpot and Etomi, which were recently commissioned by his Excellency, Mr. Donald Duke while those of Effraya and Agbokim were rehabilitated. Those of Abia and Itaka are at various stages of completion.

Council has also ensured regular immunization of children against child killer disease and cerebro-spinal meningitis, while the services of mobile doctors have been contracted to render weekly medical services to the people of the area.

AGRICULTURE:
Being an agrarian community and also recognizing the importance of food to healthy living, Etung council has intensified its education of the people on improved yields and the use of fertilizer. Organisations have been sponsored to provide enlightenment programmes on new skills of farming and the subsidization of agricultural inputs and implements. Thus, Etung has continued to maintain its position as the Land of Abundance.

WORKS & HOUSING:
Council has recorded impressive achievements in the area of infrastructure facilities such as the construction as a 24-room modern secretariat complex at Effraya at the cost of N7.1 million. This project which was completed within the first hundred days of this administration was among the array of projects recently commissioned by Governor Donald Duke on January 17, 2001.

Council has also completed health centre projects at Abijang, Mkpot and Etomi at N2.6m, and N2.4m respectively while the renovation of Agbokim waterfalls health centre and Effraya gulped N0.45. and N0.7m while health centers at Abia and Itaka are still under construction

OTHERS:
At inception of the administration council inherited two projects started by Ntufam Gab Odu Oji’s administration. These are the garri processing factory at Agbokim waterfalls and the Oil mill at Etomi. This projects were given due attention and were promptly completed and commissioned to enhance the socio-economic life of the people.

Within this period also, council has boosted the mass transit scheme with 5 buses and 4 outboard engines as well as procured cars for principal officers of council.

VIP toilets have been constructed at Effraya. hand dug wells at Ekimkae and Ekpo in Bendeghe Ekiem while office block for headmaster and staff at Titor primary school Bendeghe have been constructed. Other project include vocational centre and culvert at Etomi at the cost of N0.8m, market stalls at Ajassor and Abia were constructed while rural electrification at Abijang gulped N0.32m. An ultra modern town hall at Nsofang was built at N5.2m while Nsofang vocational centre was constructed at the cost of N1m. This is apart from financial assistance to comminute embarking on self help projects for the completion of such projects.

WOMEN DEVELOPMENT UNIT:
This unit under the able leadership of Ntunkae Gertrude Sandy Onor has played a dominant role in changing the lives of Etung women. For instance vocational centers at Nsofang and Etomi provide opportunities for women to learn crafts, waving, sewing, home economics and such other vocation that would make them self reliant.

The unit has relentlessly ensured through supervision and provision of all logistics needed for the successful immunization of children against childhood killer disease.

The unit has donated baby wares and over N10,000.00 to a woman who gave birth to a set of quadruplets. Mrs. Onor has paid visits to destitutes, and the aged and made meaningful donations for their upkeep.

The unit has improved the life of Etung women through sponsorship to meetings, seminars etc. Thus, simply put, Mrs. Onor has help to improved the life of the average Etung family.

PROBLEMS:
One of the major problems confronting the Local Government Area is the absence of federal government presence and electricity to boost the social-economic life of the people. That sten why it was heart warming when governor Donald promised to step down electricity to the council Headquarter s at Effraya as a first step towards its distribution to other major towns in the LGA.

Doctor Sandy Onor and the entire people of the Local Government Area are sincerely grateful to the Donald Duke led administration for providing an access road to the council headquarters at Effraya but must reiterate here that the total absence of an access road to Etung South deprives that area of meaningful development, and the evacuation of farm produce which continue to rot away there opening up of this vital access road will be of immense benefit to the people of Etung and Cross River State.

CONCLUSION:
It can be stated that Etung Local Government Area under Ntufam Dr. Sandy Onor has been development from a state of near absence of basic amenities to a buoyant local government area. The chairman has aptly demonstrated within the limited resources at his disposal the essence of the creation of the Local Government Area.