By Jonathan Ugbal
The Agbokim waterfalls in Etung local government area of central Cross River State is capable of generating enough electricity to cater for the power needs of about 3 states in Nigeria CrossRiverWatch findings reveal.
A visit to the site Friday evening by this reporter revealed a neglected tourist attraction with no signage containing proper guide information concerning the safety of tourists seen at the site while the tour guide, David Ndifon told CrossRiverWatch that the tourist attraction, managed by the Cross River State Tourism Bureau, is capable of generating enough power to cater for the needs of over 10 million Nigerians with minimum impact on the original beauty of the falls.
“The hydroelectricity strength of all the 7 (rivulets) gives you 455 megawatts at full season. As it is, it can generate electricity to about 3 states if a turbine is put in place” David told CrossRiverWatch and when asked about the implications on the beauty of the place said the government had shortchanged the state.
“If you go to Oji river, you will see the pillar, the posts that are there completely, you will see Agbokim waterfalls there captured. The initials of Agbokim waterfalls is there. So, it would have been here. It wouldn’t have been in Oji river.
“The government planned long ago, the white man discovered that here is where a dam should be built or hydro power station. It would have been built here, not Oji river. They siphoned it there. And though, another fear too is that we are close to Cameroon.”
David said the falls has its source from Buanchor in Boki local government area where the canopy walkway is and “as it flows, it mixes with sediments and sand and during the day, the water is not pure, it is colored because of the mixture of the sediments and sand.”
David said at full season, the falls has its seven rivers or rivulets running at full capacity but these reduce to three during the dry season.
“The tributaries form a creek down below which evacuates the water from here completely and since Agbokim shares a boundary with Cameroon, we have a ditch where security forces check for illegalities and since the main river comes from Cameroon and with this from Agbokim here, we have a geographical reaction there where the water then flows down to the Atlantic ocean.
“At the point of meeting together with the main river there is a mini confluence. There is a geographical reaction right there. I say this because the main water is hot while the river is cooler. When one of your leg is in the main river and the other leg is in the waterfall, you see that the two legs are tapping hot and cold. That is combustion.”
He went on to explain that a hunter discovered the Agbokim community in early 1827 and the first rivulet has a cave underneath which has a tunnel that links to another cave opening at the small river running between Agbokim and its neighboring Ajassor community at a little waterfall.
On the vegetation, David said that the lily of the valley or purple flower is available all year round with a carpet of green grass that provides tourists and opportunity to relax.
“Most of the plants you see here are highly medicinal, in the day time you would have seen some plants in the cave. Though the strength of the falls is all about igneous rock in mixture with crystals. Some of those plants or shrubs are vanilla and vanilla has 21 good usages in life and one of which is cosmetics.
“There is another one you will see here, the top sides of the leaves is yellowish and the back side of the leaf is hairy, like sandpaper, but it is highly medicinal for pile patients and women who hardly put to birth. Every plant you see here is medicinal.”
Also, he said the tunnel leads to a Gab (twin rock or saddle) where the best photographs of the waterfalls can be taken with the rainbows.
Furthermore, David said another striking feature was the skin of elephants, lion and several other animals built into the cave naturally which no one really knows their origin.