The Chairman, Cross River Cocoa Technical Management Team, Oscar Ofuka, has condemned the recent burning of the Benbege Cocoa Plantation and Settlement in Etung Local Government Area of the state.
Some unidentified youth from the area set the plantation and hundreds of building in the settlement on fire two weeks ago.
The youth were said to have been angered by the constitution of the first technical management team for the plantation which according to them, did not favour the area.
Mr. Ofuka told the News Agency of Nigeria in Calabar on Sunday that the action of the youth was completely in contrast with the objectives of the state government to revitalise cocoa industry in the state.
“Setting fire on the cocoa plantation and settlement is unacceptable for whatever reason. It is counter-productive.
“We know that with the dwindling fortunes of the naira, coupled with inflation, each cocoa stem and infrastructure ravaged was worth millions of naira,” he said.
The chairman described the damage as monumental, saying that those found responsible for the act would soon be made to face the law.
He appealed to the chairman of the local government council, the State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, and public-spirited individuals to assist the victims of the fire incident.
Mr. Ofuka also assured the victims of the willingness of the state government to assist them in their present predicament.
The chairman said that the victims of the inferno would be given special consideration as soon as rehabilitation work commences in the settlement.
He said the state government was irrevocably committed to the revamping of cocoa industry in the state.
He said that the government demonstrated the commitment by setting up the technical committee on cocoa.
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