Governor Bassey Otu of Cross River State has inaugurated a Pre-Cocoa Allocation Committee to determine the total indebtedness of the government to communities.
There has been a hue and cry over royalty payments to landlord communities in Etung and Ikom LGAs of the state which are bastions of cocoa plantations in the state.
Former special adviser to ex-governor Ben Ayade, Dr Oscar Ofuka had claimed the administration paid staggering sums of money after long delays to landlord communities.
But The Chairman of Etung Cocoa Landlords Communities Committee in the State, AIG Njangor Egbe Ngom (rtd) confirmed that the state government only paid part of the royalties due them.
“The state government owed us about N30 million. We have been paid N12.5m as landlord communities. The actual money that is remaining is about N115m which is yet to come. But we have N24m in our account that is yet to be disbursed.
“We would have paid to the communities long ago. But it is
just that we want to do the calculations to enable us distribute the money equitably.”
A press release appointing the Pre-Cocoa Allocation Committee signed by Chief press secretary to Governor Bassey Otu, Emmanuel Ogbeche, explained that the committee will help determine what is outstanding to each community.
The release also added that the government committee will equally determine the total hectarage of acquired cocoa plots, the total hectarage planted, and the total number of hectares that are viable and non-viable.
The committee will determine the total hectares that have been encroached on as well as ascertain the total scope of new farms over the past four years.
The 11-man Committee has Dr. Assam Assam as Chairman and Daniel Mgbe as Secretary.
Other members include, Mr. Collins Atu Ogar, Mr. Mbek Tangban, Mr. Augustine Ayuk, Mr. Ebuta Akor Member and Mr. Anari Emeng Anari.
Others are the Manager of Ikom Cocoa Estate, Manager, Abia/Bendeghe Cocoa Estate, Manager, Abonita Cocoa Estate and Manager of the Cross River Forest Estate.
They have been charged to submit their report on or before July 30th, 2023.