Monday, 5 August 2019

Land grab; CRSHA disagrees with Ayade over acquisition of lands, suspends task-force

by Endurance Onun | July 17, 2019

The unusual happened today at the Cross River State House of Assembly Chamber as Members disagreed, for the first time, with Governor Ben Ayade in the latter's recent move to acquire over 9000 hectares of lands from the three (3) senatorial districts of the state.

In what could be described as end-of-the-road for Gov. Ayade's land grabbing jamboree, the members, in plenary today, unanimously frowned at Ayade's prompt move to acquire these lands, especially in the face of the Federal Government's RUGA struggle, thereby ordering the immediate suspension of the taskforce set up by His Excellency to ensure strict compliance by all.

Being a motion of urgent public importance moved by Rt. Hon. Itam Abang of Boki I State Constituency, the House wants Governor Ayade to properly brief them as well as members of the general public on the purpose of grabbing these lands, the actual quantity of lands needed for the purpose and the provisions (if any) set in place to efficiently utilize these lands in the event they are acquired.

The members, while donating their voices on the motion noted that the 9th State House of Assembly was not against the Executive government obtaining lands for whatever purposes, however, they were unhappy that His Excellency could set up a committee to grab lands across the length and breadth of the State without putting them on the know.

Stating that they are all government together, the members worried if the intend for grabbing these lands was for the overall good of Cross Riverians. They wondered that when the governor wanted to acquire a loan facility of N5 billion, he wrote to the House, however, now that it is time to acquire lands, he did not see any need to put the House on notice.

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Describing the motion, the member representing Obubra I State Constituency, Rt. Hon. Friday Okpechi opined that the motion was also a security motion. According to Hon. Friday, if this land grabbing outing of the governor is not properly managed, it could result to attacks by citizens who are currently occupying the lands.

On his part, Rt. Hon. Efa Esua of Calabar Municipal State Constituency stated that whereas all lands in the state belong to the state government, the state government must employ adequate mechanism in acquiring lands through overriding public interest method.

The member representing Odukpani State Constituency, Hon. Bassey Asuquo also noted that from time immemorial, lands have been the reason for communal misunderstandings in the state and as such the government must be careful on how they go about grabbing lands in order not to cause ugly incidences of clashes by locals.

Reacting to the opinions, the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Eteng Jones acknowledged the need for the said committee to appear before the Honourable Members; believing that their appearance will create a platform for the State Government to explain to Cross Riverians what their intentions really are and why they needed these lands.

The House therefore resolved that the taskforce for the three senatorial districts headed by Barr. Alphonsus Eba (for North), Engr. Dane Osim-Asu (for Central) and Hon. Savior Nyong (for South) should stay-down activities for now pending when they must have appeared before the House for explanation.