Residents of a large section of the Calabar South community comprising Akparika, Atakpa, Yellow Duke and Palm Streets along with adjoining areas are trooping to No 5, National Commercial Street to fetch free water.
The precious liquid is distributed to the people of the area by Pastor Bassey Duke, a minister with the Apostolic Church who said the free water supply is to reduce the suffering of the people.
“There is no novelty in what I am doing; It has always been a burden in my heart when I see what is happening in the society. I am one person who does not like the divide between the rich and the poor. Most people cannot afford some basic needs including simple thing like water and I said to myself any day I build my house I will give water free”.
He said the money used by the people in buying water could be used for other things which could help them and that the free water will continue as long as he lives.
“When I moved into my apartment some years back, not that I was not able to sink a borehole, but I deliberately decided not to because my immediate neighbour sells water and I thought that since she is a pensioner, she might have used her gratuity to build the borehole so I decided to give her some time and I tell her each time I take my bucket there to buy water that I was only patronizing her to recoup the money she invested in building the borehole and any day I sink mine, I will give the water free and that is what I am doing now”.
He said the current tank capacity is three thousand five hundred littes and that he intends to install more tanks to increase the capacity to make sure more people get free water no matter from which part of the town they come from.
Pastor Duke said the free water supply will serve as a stop gap for the people following the absence of public water supply which has been for a long time in Calabar south.
“My giving free water has nothing to do with my calling as a minster of God but based on my nature and personal convictions. I hardly drive past anyone without stopping to carry him and some people when I stop would say ‘ah I will dirty your car,’ but I tell them to enter I will wash the car, they should not be intimidated by the size or make of car”.
He said everyone is born with the love of humanity but society and situations make people change and called on anyone with the ability to assist others to do so because that will not diminish or change their status.
“My helping others does not make me poorer or richer and I bet any one that does good gets good in return but that is not what drives me but the ingrained nature to show love to others because I hate the divide between the rich and the poor and if there should be any divide at all it should be very minimal ”
A resident of the area, Madam Akon Ndifreke said what they are witnessing in the area is a novelty as no one has ever distributed water free to them.
“Apart from rain water, nobody has ever given us water in our area free even the water board sells water to us but for Pastor Duke to do this only God will bless him for us and we pray for long life for him”