By Achiane Adams
The Commissioner, Culture and Tourism Development, Honourable Eric Anderson, has stressed the need to preserve the rich cultural artifacts of the State.
Mr. Anderson, disclosed this when he inspected the Monoliths at Alok, Ikom Local Government Area, while in continuation of his familiarization tour of tourism sites in the State.
The Commissioner who was impressed at the heritage site said “we need to do more to protect and preserve our culture so that our children, not yet born will have something to hold on to for their identity and history purposes. I am happy that the Alok people have over the years been able to preserve the monolith.
Since our tourism creative Governor, Senator Prof. Ben Ayade is paying so much attention to culture and tourism development, I will inform him about the yearly Bakor New Yam Festival held in the month of September in celebration of the Alok Monolith and see what can be done to enhance it.” He said.
The Central Village Head, Alok, Chief Sylvanus Ekoh Akong, while welcoming the Commissioner gave a brief history of the stones, saying “the Alok Monolith dates back to 200AD and the metaphysical marking on the stones are so unique, they cannot be found anywhere. They tell the history of the Nsibidi writing which can only be interpreted by an Ekpe initiates. The original Ekpe stone is also here and every year, Ekpe initiates come here to pay homage.
With the support of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments and the Cross River State Government, I am certain that more attention would be given to the Alok Monolith, so the history of the stones can be preserved for the people, attract tourists, generate revenue for the State and encourage academic research.”
Akong stated that after the last renovation carried out by the then Governor Duke’s administration, none has been done again. “After that renovation exercise, the site was so beautiful that Archaeological students from four foreign universities visited at different times, camping for about two to three weeks to understudy the monolith.”
Amongst other challenges affecting the Monolith facility, the fence needs reinforcement.
The Senior Special Assistant on Tourism, Mr. Atsu John Atsu, Special Assistant, Events, Administration, Mr. Noel Ugbong, Permanent Secretary, MCTD, Dr Innocent Eteng, Director of Tourism, MCTD, Mr. Anthony Bassey, Tourism Consultants amongst others visited the site.