BY NSAN NDOMA-NEJI, Calabar
The Cross River government yesterday said it has withdrawn 32 hectares of disputed cocoa plots mistakenly ceded to Chief Ogar Assam’s family at Abonita Government Cocoa plantation in Etung LGA of Cross River State, saying the hectares were ceded in error.
The withdrawal was made in a letter signed by the Director, Agric Services Mr. Etta, Henry Ogar, dated January 17, 2024 made available to our Correspondent in Càlabar yesterday.
According to the letter, Governent was was misguided with information about the disputed cocoa plots leading to wrongful Ceding of the land to the Ogar Assam’s family stressing that facts latter emerged that 32 hectares of cocoa plots were property of state government.
The letter titled, “Re: Release of Block 7A77,7B77,7C77,8B77,8C77 Cocoa Farms At Abonita Cocoa Estate to Chief Ogar Assam’s Family”, stressed that the Government has withdrawn the 32 hectares of cocoa plots it ceded earlier to the Ogar Assam’s family on it’s letter of December 5,2023.
“The decision is consequent upon the misguided facts during information gathering in some of the documentatal evidence provided by Mac Prince Mbu Leku.
“The desire to withdraw the ceded blocks is also steamed from the presentation of facts by the land lords communities in a meeting scheduled on December 12,2023, with intention of the Attorney General of Cross River State to amicably resolve the impasse in suit NO.HE/18/2022.
“Further clarification from director of forestry in his letter with Red No.CRSFC/S4/V3/315 categorically stated that the said Cross River North Forestry Reserve where Abonita Cocoa Estate is established.
“To this end, block 7A77,7B77,7C77 8B77,8C77 totalling 32 hectares of land is still vested in tbe government of Cross River State as was ceded in error to Ogar Assam’s family.
“Similarly, the çommissioner for lands in his letter with Ref No.MLH/ADS/670/Vol.I/18 said that records from the ministry does not in any way show that Governent of Cross River State acquired land from any family to establish Abonita Cocoa Estate.” The withdrawal letter maintained.
In an interactive session with the director planning research and statistics, Forestry Commission, Mr. Akor Godwin after inspection of the contentious 32 hectares of cocoa plots at Abonita by officials of Cross River State government yesterday, Amor said that states that no portion of Governent cocoa plot would be ceded to any private individual without due process.
The forestry expert stressed that it is ridiculous and unusual for a single individual to claim ownership of any land in the estate without the Governor’s approval.
In his remarks, Secretary General of the estate cocoa landlord committee Benjamin Asu Ndep, averred that he is confident that the committee which visited the disputed area will resolved dispute for the matter to be put to an end.
Effort to get the input of the committee leader Mr.. charles to speak on the issue failed as he refused to speak with Journalists.
Reacting in a telephone conversation on the issue, representative of Ogar Assam’s family,Mr Mac Prince Leku, claimed that the 32 hectares is his late father’s cocoa plot.
” I thanked God that when we family get to court at the end of the day justice will prevail to ascertain the true owner of the disputed hectares of cocoa plots.