Joseph Bernard Asuquo, 62, is a poor, rural farmer with a festering wound that has lingered for years on his legs.

🏠He was virtually at the edge of giving up on life. His mud house and thatched roof in Atan Nto Abodom, Mbiaso in Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area, was almost collapsing on him. Whenever the rain fell, Ete Joseph would relocate to a nearby church. His wife could not tolerate it. She deserted him and their four children because of his incredible state of squalor and sickness.

Suddenly, Pastor Umo Eno, the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, appeared on the scene, confronted with the unbearable conditions, not just of Ete Joseph Asuquo, but thousands like him in the land, wallowing in extreme destitution and unacceptable deprivation. “I was brokenhearted”, the Governor told me.

According to him, he had plans originally to build housing estates in urban areas, but his encounters with homeless, ageing and rural people, changed his focus to the rural poor, while urban housing will follow up later. “Sir, I was sent by God to the rural people of this State”, he told me.

That is the genesis of ARISE COMPASSIONATE HOMES programme, now making waves in the State. These homes are sprouting up now like mushrooms in various villages across Akwa Ibom State. Solomon Esshiet, a pastor in the Living Faith Church, LFC, and diligent Aide of the Governor, ran into Ete Joseph Bernard Asuquo’s compassionate home in his Ikot Ekpene LGA and drew my attention this afternoon.

🏠I was instantly enamoured and moved by the progress being made in this programme and the way Governor Eno is touching lives and making a difference across the State, in very innovative ways. I quickly reached out to the hardworking Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Humanitarian Services, Nsikanabasi Umoekpo, who is driving this compassionate homes scheme, for numbers, facts and figures.

Briefly, 400 units of two bedroom bungalows are undergoing construction in the 31 LGAs and 368 Wards of the State. I will bring you graphic details on the projects later as I have already decided with Pastor Solomon Eshiet to embark on a tour of most of these compassionate homes.

For now, Ete Joseph Bernard Asuquo’s home has taken great shape, as you can see in the pictures below. Like all other such homes, it is a two bedroom flat with outdoor kitchen, solar powered water borehole and water tanks. What is left now in Ete Joseph’s new house is the furnishing. The palour and the two bedrooms will soon be furnished with settees, chairs and tables as well as beds in the two rooms and curtains for all doors and windows in the house.

Said Umoekpo: “This house is a world of difference from the hut that the man was living before now. You can be sure, this new environment will add some more years to him and prolong his life to care and raise his children”.

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