Oscar Ofuka, an aide to the governor of Cross River State, Ben Ayade, has warned against the ceding of parts of Cross River State cocoa plantation to individuals.
Mr Ofuka, an aide on cocoa development, gave the warning on Tuesday in Calabar while giving an update on the allocation of cocoa farms in the state.
He said ceding parts of the state government’s cocoa estate in Etung Local Government Area could pose danger to the host community.
Such action would impede the progress of the cocoa revolution agenda of the state government, he said.
“Some public officers are doing shady deals by ceding government lands to individuals.
“We are suffering in Cross River as a result of the ceding of Bakassi to Cameroon and our oil wells to a neighbouring state.
“We cannot afford to witness ceding of our cocoa plantation which has become our new crude oil, to any individual.
“I want to emphasise once more that the Cross River government is not ready to cede an inch of its cocoa land to any individual, no matter how highly placed,” the governor’s aide said.
He added that the state was committed to its target of becoming the number one cocoa-producing state in Nigeria.
According to him, the plots of cocoa farms were supposed to be allocated to beneficiaries who meet the necessary conditions.
“So, the idea that 40 hectares of our cocoa estate had been ceded to an individual is unacceptable.
“This government will come and go, but the cocoa estate will remain. We can’t afford to have any plot of land ceded to any individual,” Mr Ofuka said.
The chairman, Etung Cocoa Estate Landlord Communities Association, Njor Asam, said the move to cede some hectares of the cocoa estate was a threat to the unborn generation.
Mr Asam said the communities would defend the estate against any form of ceding.
“We may invoke all traditional methods to stop any individual or group of persons from ceding the estate,” he said.
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