CRSG Denies Ceding Its Cocoa Farms To Any Family – Commissioner

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By: VITALIS UGOH, Calabar.
Cross River State government has denied the allegation that it had ceded over 32 hectares of cocoa plots in Abointa Cocoa estate in Etung local government area to anybody or family as rumoured.
This position was made known by the state Commissioner for agriculture Prof. Anthony Eneji while briefing newsmen in his office.
It would be recalled that rumour had it that the state government in a secret deal, ceded the cocoa plots to a family in Etung to manage.
He said only the state governor Senator Ben Ayade has the mandate to cede any land belonging to government adding that “outside that, any transaction with any official of government is null and void”.
According to him, “government has not ceded land to anybody and that is the position now. It is only the governor who can cede land, any other transaction is not acceptable”.
Also clearing the air further, the special adviser to the governor on Cocoa Development, Mr. Oscar Ofuka said a certain family in Ajassor in Etung local government was laying claim to the said land purportedly ceded to it by officials of the state Ministry of Agriculture.
Ofuka however stated that neither the Commissioner nor any official of the ministry had the mandate to cede government land and called on the affected family to desist from trespassing on the said plots.
He advised them as law abiding citizens to seek legitimate ways of seeking redress and avoid setting themselves on collision course with government and the law.
Ofuka advised those who had allocations of cocoa plots by government on the disputed 32 hectares to take possession of their plots and report to the SA Cocoa Development if they are harassed by anybody.
The 32 hectares of cocoa situated in Abonita Cocoa estate has been an issue of dispute between a certain Ogar Assam family in Ajassor and the state government.
They family had claimed that the said portion of land was encroached on by government following some negotiations with the Commissioner of Agriculture who ceded the land to them.
Cross River state is the second largest cocoa producer in Nigeria but its capacity has been largely undermined by neglect of cocoa estates planted during the Eastern region under Dr. Michael Okpara.
The administration of governor Ben Ayade has attempted to reverse the trend by appointing Mr Oscar Ofuka as SA on Cocoa Development but it had been marred in conspiracy.

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