By Akpan David, Calabar
Becheve community in Obanliku Local Government Area of Cross River State is becoming famous for many reasons. Two outstanding reasons are that it hosts the famous Obudu Mountain Resort and the Money Wife syndrome where baby girls are sold to creditors, usually elderly men, by their parents if they were unable to defray their indebtedness.
Now the community is becoming famous for yet another reason: The ‘Holy Mountain”, which situates few metres away from the resort and is pulling increasing numbers of human traffic. Tourists and guests who holiday at the Obudu Mountain Resort usually asked to be guided to the mountain for them to also experience personal testimony.
The mountain provides religious tourism to the community
The Mountain is said to have been discovered by one of the Becheve guides, Clifford Anele. It is one of the highest mountains with plain table surface.
It has a very deep gulf besides it where the water from another faraway rock called The Grotto (part of the resort) powerfully empties into it.
Climbers, tourists, natives, politicians and fortune seekers who are mostly the ones attracted to the holy mountain can easily see and feel the nature in display as well as the unusual, chilly breeze that envelope the mountain.
People in their numbers, including dignitaries and top politicians have climbed it in order to obtain inexplicable favours after saying some prayers and making offertory.
As a result of the increased traffic, the community leaders have decided to station guards and collect tolls to enable them have control and also think of erecting structures around it.
According to one of the young men paid to keep guard, a native of Becheve, Christopher Ochin, the Mountain is one of three sacred, natural spots in the community. The other two, visits are seriously restricted. The mountain has mysterious aura, pull and power, which reason traffic increases daily.
Another native, Mr Festus who is a long time staff of the resort also explained that they received up to 1000 people weekly who troop to the mountain to commune.
Testifying about the power believed to ooze from it, Festus said: “Two sisters came all the way from Kogi State recently and returned to see that the intractable family feud settled itself. A barren, married woman visited two years ago and shortly afterwards, took in. You only need to pray here, put some token into the small tithe box, you can decide to stay on or sleep there, even though the place has no facilities at all.”
Becheve community is mountainous. It has common boundary with Cameroon. Indigenes of the surrounding communities in both countries saunter in and out without any hindrance.
A lot of Cameroonians settle on the mountains, claiming citizenships of both countries. From the holy mountain, it is possible to view the Cameroonian countryside.
According to Festus, it takes only 30 minutes on motorcycles or one hour on foot to snake through the many mountains paths to meet their fellow Becheve kinsmen who also populate the Kalumu communities under Akwaya sub-division in Cameroon.
“We inter-marry. We speak the same language. No boundaries between us. Both peoples cross effortlessly into either sides through the many track roads.”