#COVID19: Bayside Community Seeks Positive Identity As Bankers Dole Out Palliatives

In Breaking News, Health, International News, Reports

By CrossRiverWatch Admin

The bayside community in Calabar south local government area of Cross River State hopes to change the negative perception associated with it says Tony Ikpeme, Coordinator of the Baysiders.

Baysiders is a development association with membership drawn from people who lived or still reside in the Bayside area which has been associated with crime and insecurity. Asides Ikpeme, Ani Esin who served as Chairman of Bakassi local government area and is the Security Adviser, South to the Cross River government, among others, are members.

And, Ikpeme, who is the Director General of the Cross River Community Social Development Agency told CrossRiverWatch in an interview that the organization is so far making strides in projecting a positive image for the community.

One of such activities was partnering with the Cross River chapter of the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Nigeria (CIBN) to donate foodstuffs and other items to the community to cushion the effect of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS – CoV-2) pandemic popularly known as COVID-19.

“The perception about calabar south when it is being mentioned is negative and we aim to promote the Bayside community in positive light and so when the CIBN decided to donate items which include 250 masks, Rice and carry out awareness on COVID19, we saw the need to partner with them as Baysiders and as CSDP,” Ikpeme said.

He explained that his agency was open to “partnership with everyone; from development partners like the International Monetary Fund among others, we can also partner with corporate bodies and individuals.”

Ikpeme who reiterated that “Calabar South is not just about hooliganism” said the success of the exercise was evidence to his assertion. He further said: “it is necessary for everyone to be their brother’s keeper,” and called on well meaning individuals to give back to their communities as some were finding it difficult to cope despite the efforts of governments.

Nigeria has recorded over 2,000 cases of the coronavirus infection with over 90 deaths according to data published by the Nigerian Center for Disease Control.

Michael Odere, who serves as Chairman of the CIBN in the said explained the choice of the Bayside community for the intervention noting that it was a historical and natural settlement where the needy really reside.

“Bayside is instrumental to the history of Cross River State,” Odere told CrossRiverWatch, explaining that shutdown of borders and the halt of human activities meant the community largely comprised of fishermen, had lost its major economic activity.

Odere who said the second bank branch in Nigeria was opened in the community in the land now housing the Marina resort, said the almost 200 member chapter of the CIBN decided on Bayside because it housed “a natural population of the aged, needy, vulnerable and the poor,” unlike adopted communities in the city center.

On their expectations, he averred that; “We did not expect the level of support we got from the Baysiders. The decorum was unlike the perception people have about Bayside.

“We thought we were going to face a lot of challenges. I have never seen such organisation in my life as they even had an interpreter and a sign language expert. I have been going out for events such as this from church and all through, I have never seen this.”

However, Odere who lamented the impact of the pandemic on the banking business, said that banks no longer look to make astronomical profits as survival was the major aim now.

“We do not operate in isolation. We flourish when businesses flourish. Sales have been slow and if sales are not being made, it means there will be no deposit and that means banks can’t lend and the multiplier effect is not there,” he said, adding that: “sustainability of the human race is vital. Businesses are not looking at astronomical profit as survival is the main aim. Patronage and profitability has reduced.”

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