Deputy Governor Peter Odey Meets With Ayip Eku Oil Company, Host Communities, To Resolve Tussle
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Deputy Governor Peter Odey Meets With Ayip Eku Oil Company, Host Communities, To Resolve Tussle

By CrossRiverWatch Admin

The Deputy Governor of Cross River State, Honorable Peter Odey has held a crucial meeting with the representatives of Ayip Eku Oil Palm Limited and five Host Communities – Okarara, Iku, Abung, Akor, and New Ndebiji in Akamkpa Local Government Area of the State, to resolve a lingering tussle.

Ayib Eku Oil Palm Ltd and the five host communities have been at loggerheads over an entitlement of a palm estate crisscrossing the five communities.

The Deputy Governor, Honorable Peter Odey while addressing the Host Communities in a meeting held in Calabar advised the company that: “Don’t release the money yet. Let the landlord communities meet and agree on the sharing formula and sign. There should be an agreement so that if any of the parties is in breach of what has been agreed the law will take its cause.”

He directed the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Crop and Irrigation Development to facilitate a meeting with representatives of the host communities to enable them to agree on a fair and acceptable sharing formula for the money received from the company.

Odey however urged representatives of the communities to complete the discussion and return with a signed document by all stakeholders.

The number 2 citizen in the State – Peter Odey averred that it was necessary because both the company and the community need to be happy at the end of the day, adding that the company that was paying hundreds of millions to both the government and communities should be given an enabling environment to make profit.

Speaking earlier, the Chairman of the Board of Ayib Eku Palm Oil Ltd, Mr. John Gaul Lebo, who was accompanied to the meeting by the Managing Director of the Company, and other key management staff praised the proactive approach of the Governor Otu-led administration which has brought to an end the disagreement between the company and the host communities that has lasted over 10 years.

He disclosed that the company had prepared bank drafts in the sum of N108,000,000 for the host communities and hopes that the impasse that had kept the company from making profits for many years will be put to rest immediately and the company will begin talking more about more important development of social infrastructure like building roads and schools rather than ground rents.

Responding to a query from the New Ndebiji Community about equity in the distribution of the money received from the company, Mr. Lebo said the company was allocating funds going to the communities based on the land holding as described in the map that the federal government had given to the company showing rivers and valleys between one community and another.

He urged the communities to discuss amongst themselves about the boundaries; if different from what was contained in the survey plan provided by the federal government.

Ayip Eku Estate Landlords Joint Council on their part called for the government’s intervention to ensure the company begins to actualize the purpose for which it was set up as the communities are still in dire need of infrastructural development despite policy directives by previous administrations to investors.

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