Cross Riverians Must Resist Sale Of Cocoa Farms BY OKOI OBONO OBLA

In Columnists, Opinion

by crossriverwatch admin

cocoa farm
cocoa farm

The plan of the Government of Cross River State to sell five Cocoa Farms belonging to Government is in bad taste and must resisted. The people of Cross River State must arouse from their lethargy and self imposed slumber and fiercely resist the attempt by Governor Imoke to sell our patrimony and commonwealth to private capital before the end of his tenure on 29th May 2015.

I recall the sale of the Cultural Center, Calabar some few months ago by Governor Imoke. I recall the sale of Ibiae Palm Plantation to private capital without telling us how much was realized from the sale.

Also recall the acquisition of thousands of acres of communal land from poor families in Itigidi, Abi Local Government Area under the pretext that the acquisition was for public interest but the land was eventually given to a private company, Songhai. There is rumour that the Governor has extensive interest in the Songhai Farm.

I further recall the acquisition of land from poor families in Ekorinim, Calabar by Donald Duke under the cloak of acquisition for public interest and then turning round to assign these lands to himself using a phony company as a front! It is crass corruption to acquire land under the guise of public interest and then turn round and hand over or even sell the land to private investment.

The Supreme Court has categorically pronounced that Government has no modicum of power to acquire land under the cloak of public interest and then hand over the land to private investor. It seems Governor Imoke and his political buddy, former Governor, Donald Duke as part of program of action of the “Three Wise Men” want to sell the entire commonwealth and patrimony of the State to themselves and cronies under the cloak of attracting private investment.

Duke sold the Metropolitan Hotel, Calabar; Rubber Plantations in Uyanga, Awi, Boki, Nko, Boki, Oban etc for peanuts to his friends and cronies without rendering account. Since Imoke and Duke took over the governance of the State they have embarked on selling of our estates without doing anything to develop new ones.

These estates were developed more than fifty years ago by the government of the defunct Eastern Region under the able leadership of Dr. Micheal Okpara. However Imoke and Duke have mindlessly sold these estates without qualms and failing to disclose how much was made from these sales.

Despite selling Cultural Center, Palm Plantations and then Cocoa farms the Government of Senator Imoke still complain of financial crunch and not having money to pay civil servants and waste collectors. The people of the State must not accept this latest move by the rapacious government of Senator Imoke to sell these cocoa farms to dubious private investors.

These farms should be revamped by government so that they provide employment to our teeming army of unemployed youths. I wonder aloud what the government of Cross River State is doing with all these humugous monies it is collecting from every where!

Between June, 2013 till now the Government has collected N10 billion being augments from the Federation Accounts for the loss of revenue from 76 oil wells that the Supreme Court of Nigeria held belong to Akwa Ibom.

Despite this, the government kept a studied silence and refused to disclose this to us and even include it in the Appropriation Law! The Government of Cross River State has illegally appropriated billions of allocation to the 18 Local Government Area Councils from the Federation Accounts in addition to its own share from the accounts.

Yet, the. Government complains of lack of money. The government should better be careful and not take the civility of the people of the State for granted.

I urge all the people of the State especially the communities that own the lands where these cocoa farms are located to strongly resist the selling of these farms to dubious investors and cronies of the Governor within the ambit of the law.

Okoi Obono-Obla

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