Ayade’s Aide Tackles Lawmaker Over Call To Stop Cocoa Farm Allocation
Posted on November 1, 2022
The Special Adviser to the Cross River State Governor on Cocoa Development and Control, Ntufam Dr Oscar Ofuka has decried the call by a lawmaker representing Etung State Constituency in Cross River State House of Assembly, Hon. Chris Njah Mbu-Ogar, that Ofuka should stop further allocation of cocoa plots to contractors.
Ofuka kicked against the call while answering questions from journalists over statements allegedly made by the lawmaker on the floor of the House.
He said allocation of cocoa estate to contractors would help to clear all the backlogs of arrears of rent/royalties owed the cocoa landlord communities in Etung LGA of Cross River State.
Ofuka said with SMARTGOV platform introduced by the state government, money paid for cocoa plots is split into three parts, adding that 49.5 percent goes into the bank account of landlord communities, 40.5% goes to the Cross River State internal Revenue Service IRS’s account whereas 10% goes to Dept. of Cocoa Dev. and Control’s account.
The lawmaker had told the state House of Assembly to bar Ofuka from further allocation of cocoa plots in the state government owned cocoa estates to contractors.
He said the administration of Prof. Ben Ayade is winding to an end and that on no grounds should the administration allocate farms any longer to contractors given the fact that already existing agreements and allocations are still running.
Reacting, Ofuka stated that there is nothing wrong with the lawmakernvitung him to explain before barring him from further allocation being carried out by the state government as part of the avenue to execute court judgement.
Ofuka stated that the allocation would enable the landlord communities get their royalties before and after Ayade’s administration elapses, adding that as an appointee of state government, he holds the state lawmakers in a very high esteem.
“My first statement is that I did not believe such statement came from a lawmaker representing the good people of Etung State Constituency.
“However, having read the statement in the media, there is need to set the record straight.
“Firstly, that the Etung Cocoa Landlord Communities are the beneficiaries of the estate in question under the Prof Ben Ayade-led administration.
“Except for the few selfish ones who had been out to frustrate the good intention of the state governor, who had been working so tirelessly to end all crises in cocoa sector in the state,” he said.
While explaining the benefits of further allocation of hectares of cocoa plots to contractors, Ofuka stated that the allocation would “Settle all new rents/royalties at the agreed new rates, prompt settlement of all future rents/royalties, rehabilitation of ailing portions of the estate, permanently put to an end litigation associated with the estate.”
A report was all over social media that a motion of urgent public importance was moved drawing the attention of the House to what the lawmaker described as unwholesome activities of Special Adviser SA to governor Ben Ayade on cocoa Development and Control.
In the course of moving the motion, Mbu-Ogar charged Ofuka to stop forthwith the sale/allocation of the State’s Cocoa Estates for additional 6 years which Ofuka said would help in bringing down the tension in the cocoa sector should he be allowed to go ahead with the allocation.