Monday, 8 February 2021

SA snubs Ayade, mobilise thugs to grab land and fuel crisis in Etung


Ukorebi Esien | 8 February 2021 

An Aide to governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State, Mr. Oscar Ofuka has been accused of snubbing government's position on a piece of land belonging to the family of Late Chief Ogar Asim of Ajasor village, Etung Local Government Area. 

According to Mark Prince Liku, a representative of the family who spoke on FAD FM while calling on government and well spirited individuals and organisation to come to their aid, Mr. Oscar Ofuka is bent on using his office as SA to the governor on Cocoa to grab their family ancestral land. 

The piece of land located in Etung is said to have been used by the government of Cross River State for planting of cocoa as part of it's cocoa estate for several years, until Chief Ogar Asim's family took the matter to court. After several security breaches and lost of lives and properties, the Ayade led administration in 2020 constituted a committee headed by the Attorney General of the State and mediated by the state House of Assembly. 

The committee after carrying out through investigations on the matter wrote a letter to the Estate Manager at Abonta Cocoa Estate directing a release of block 7A77 to the family of Chief Ogar Asim.

The letter dated July 3rd with Reference Number CRS/MOA/CARES/S.14/Vol.1/ was signed by the Director of Agricultural Service, G. A. Ufono on the behalf of the Honorable Commissioner for Agriculture. The letter stated that the release of the land was to compensate the Asim family over a 32 Hectares of land saga.

Directing that the stated block 7A77 of the Abonita Cocoa Estate should be excluded from the 2018-2020 cocoa allocation.

The letter reads in full:

"This is to officially notify you that Block 7A77 at Abonita Cocoa Estate is to be released to compensate for the 32 Hectares released to the late Chief Ogar Asim Family. 

This is consequent on the amicable resolution of contention of ownership of 32 Hectares of Cocoa between Abonta Community and the late Chief Ogar Asim's family.

The matter was handled and settled on the directives of His Excellency, the Governor with mediation by the state House of Assembly and a special committee headed by the Attorney General of the State and Commissioner for Justice to bring an end  to threat of life and lost of properties that has tended to breach peace in the area overtime. 

Accordingly, block 7A77 comprising of 8 (Eight) Hectares of at Abonita Cocoa Estate is excluded from the 2018-2020 cocoa allocation and should be released to make up the 32 Hectares for late Chief Ogar Asim's family."

The letter from C'River State Government
Handing over the land to the family of Late Chief Ogar Asim

But to the surprise of many, Ayade's SA on Cocoa is bent on allocating the said Hectares of land as part of Government Estate. He went as far as erecting a signpost on the piece of land asking people to stay clear the land. Ofuka did not only stop there but went as far as bringing thugs to the community. The said thugs are said to have been shooting live ammunitions and terrorising the entire community as villagers now live in fear. 

Lending his voice on the matter, the Chairman of Etung Local Government Council, Hon. John Ngom when he was called upon said the matter was already on his table and that the SA Cocoa, Oscar Ofuka had refused to take his calls so as to put a lasting solution to the matter. When pressed further, the Council boss disclosed that having done preliminary investigations on the matter, and following the state government's position, he believes the land belongs to the Family of Late, Chief Ogar Asim.

An insider familiar with the story from the Cross River State Ministry of Agriculture informed TDN that Mr. Oscar Ofuka is really a tong in the flesh of the ministry as there are several complaints about him and he is currently having a running battle with the Director General, Cross River State Cocoa Development Board.

Efforts made to reach out to Mr. Oscar Ofuka proved abortive as he was either not taking his calls or his numbers weren't connecting for days before going to the press.

We therefore Promise to bring you a follow up to the story as soon as we are able to get through to Mr Ofuka.