Unknown to several persons and even government officials in Cross River State, the home of famous Scottish missionary, Mary Slessor in Okoyong, Odukpani Local Government, Cross River State, will any moment from now be reduced to rubble as the structure, once a tourist one, has become dilapidated.
We can confidently reveal that the staircase to the upper floor is now a death trap as are the entire floors in the building. Her austere personal effects upstairs have additionally been taken over by rodents and bats, helping accelerate the dilapidation of the historic structure. The entire windows in the building, made from wood imported from Scotland, are creaking and showing signs of abandonment.
Akiba Ekpenyong, an indigene of Okoyong, who drew our attention to the plight of this structure, had cried out through his Facebook page that: “Anyone who cares should know that our once cherished Mary Slessor residence would be gone if nothing is done to restore it.” He copied The Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, (then Church of Scotland Mission) who Slessor worked for, the Cross River State Government, who exercises administrative control over Okoyong, Odukpani LGA, etc
Government officials in CRS, on condition of anonymity, are maintaining that since the structure is now a national monument, the responsibility of maintaining it rests with the National Commission for Museums and Monuments. Officials of this Commission when contacted over the phone declined any comments on the state of this building.
Slessor, who lived in Calabar and among the Okoyong people, after arriving Calabar onboard SS Ethiopia, from Scotland in August 1876, worked to eradicate the practice of killing twins among the people. When she passed away in 1915 and was buried in a state funeral in Calabar, successive administrations up to former state governor, Donald Duke, made commendable efforts to preserve Slessor’s residence, even turning it into a national monument.
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