By RICHARD NDOMA, Calabar
Paramount Ruler of Etung Local Government Area, of Cross River State, HRM Ntui Atue Dr. Emmanuel Oru has applauded Gov. Ben Ayade of Cross River State over the fair allocation formula employed state to allocate plots of Cocoa to farmers.
The monarch made the commendation at a reception ceremony organized by the elders in council in honour of the Special Adviser to Governor Ben Ayade on Cocoa Development and Control, Dr. Ofuka alongside members of the United Nation World Peace Advocates at the palace of the monarch in Etung LGA of the state.
The paramount ruler maintained that it is the first time in the history of the LG that allocation had been done without rancour and violence known to be associated with the exercise over the years and called on for the sustainability of the formula given the fact that the was devoid of any rancour.
The monarch commended Ofuka for effectively overseeing the exercise and ensuring equity and fairness in the allocation of plots to beneficiaries who are mostly community locals.
The traditional ruler averred that the allocation which had seen over 70% of the cocoa plots being allocated to the landlord communities about 30% to the government will guarantee peace and order stressing that exercise of that nature goes a long way to reduced the number of litigation by the community against the state government.
In his words, the monarch said, “The community agreed that 70% of the r estates should go to the community while 30% go to the government and this was done.
” Every one in the community is happy that the allocation of Oscar Ofuka is the best.
“You are our son and did wonderfully, since we started allocation, no one has done as much as you did.
” People of Etung are clapping their hands because the allocation touched everybody “.
Reacting, Ayade’s Special Adviser on Cocoa Development and Control Dr. Oscar Ofuka stated that he and his team decided to adopt a radical approach so as not to allow mistakes done by previous leaders in the allocation of plots/hectares of Cocoa repeat itself stressing that idea is to encourage mass participation in cocoa cultivation to end disputes with land owners.
Ofuka said, ” Before this time cocoa was given to political elites and treated as political gain so we had to adopt a radical approach to ensure a fair distribution.
“The issue of royalty to the cocoa producing communities preceded this government but he approved an out of court settlement.
” He also approved that the outstanding royalties be paid and also gave the communities 70% of the allocation so that we can encourage mass participation in cocoa cultivation”.
Ayade’s aide maintained that government is at present aggressively reactivating the old and moribund estates to guarantee maximum yield with 10 million improved variety seedlings been planted across all government owned estate in the state.