A human rights crusader in Cross River State, Comrade Reuben Ayang, has cautioned the executive director of Rainforest Resources Development Centre (RRDC), Prince Odey Oyama, against making derogatory utterances about Chinese nationals that approached Effi community chiefs in Ikom LGA of the state with a business proposal, saying such action could destroy existing diplomatic relations between Nigeria and China.
Ayang made the call in an open letter addressed to Oyama and sighted by LEADERSHIP on Thursday.
Ayang’s letter titled, “Open Letter to Mr. Odey Oyama, Cease the Misinformation and Bare Face Falsehood Against The Chiefs of Your Community”, stressed that apart from disorganising Effi community, the allegations, which Ayang described as false, were capable of injuring Nigeria’s diplomatic ties with China.
While calling on security agencies to call Oyama to order, Ayang stated: “You must be called to order by relevant security agencies, or your false alarm against Chinese nationals could lead to a diplomatic crisis between Nigeria and China apart from disorganizing your community.
“I write this letter as a concerned individual who happened to know you for quite some time. It pains me to witness the lies and misinformation you propagated across various media online platforms.
“Your intentions aimed at tarnishing the image of the revered Chiefs of Effi Community in Okuni Village, Ikom Local Government Area of Cross River State, and possibly seeking international donor agency funds under the guise of advocating for forest protection won’t work.”
The human rights crusader averred that after personal investigation and interaction with many persons in Effi community, he discovered that the community through thier chiefs and elders leased thier land located about a quarter of a kilometer off the Calabar-Ikom highway to a Chinese firm to build a plywood processing factory.
“This lease is the only transaction that the Effi community had entered with the Chinese firm. How does this translate to depleting the forest and ancestral resources even as you play down on the site lease?
“In all our native communities, Chiefs are custodians of lands and if they decide to retain the services of a legal attorney whether of your native origin, based on the principles of confidentiality, should he go cap-in-hand singing his brief to a third party.
“The legal attorney has done no wrong in this regard. What is this cry of transparency and accountability? Whose duty at this stage?
“Your misrepresentation of facts has deeply concerned me, because your claims that the Chiefs are selling Effi Community forest to the Chinese for logging activities are blatant lies.
“This calculated deceit aims to incite the gullible public against a development-oriented project that would employ over 200 youths from within and outside the community,” Ayang stated.
However, reacting to the letter, Executive Director of RRDC, Prince Odey Oyama, said: “I don’t know if Ayang who wrote that letter has capacity to question me on what he had written.”