Dr Emmanuel Ojong, the Paramount Ruler of Etung Local Government Area, Cross River State has appealed to the Cross River government to pay compensation to the five communities that donated lands for the government owned Cocoa Estate to douse tension in the community.
Ojong made the appeal on Wednesday in Calabar while talking to Journalists on his purported suspension and banishment to Calabar by a faction of his Council members.
He blamed the current crises rocking his domain to the failure of the state government to pay accumulated royalty worth about N100 million to the cocerned communities.
“Very few of my cabinet members have conspired with the Local Government Coincil Chairman to suspend me from office for refusing to sign a petition against the Special Adviser to the Governor on Cocoa Development, Dr Oscar Ofuka.
“They claimed that the government had paid the money to me and the SA, which is not true.
“So, I am appealing to the State Government to settle these communities so that this matter will be laid to rest, ” he said.
The monarch described Ofuka as a true son of the area and who had used his office to distribute allocation of Cocoa farms to everybody irrespective of class or creed.
“Since his assumption of Office he has ensured that all our people partake in Cocoa allocation, both the widows, youths and the vulnerable.
“And now some people want me to rubbish him just like that,. I cannot do that.
“So, I am appealing to the Governor to intervene so that this matter will be settled and everybody will be happy, ” he said.
Also speaking, the Clan Head of Etomit, Ntufam Michael Mkpe said that the crises in the area was as a result of the non payment of the royalty by the state government.
“The communities have been happy with the way things were going, until this demand for the royalty came up.
“There is bitterness, anger and frustration among the landlords of the communities now over non payment of the money.
“So, I also join in appealing to the governor or whoever is responsible for that, to do something so that peace will be restored to the communities, ” he said.
In his reaction, the Special Adviser to the governor on Cocoa Development and Control said that the issue was before the governor and was receiving attention.
Ofuka promised that the government was committed to paying the landlords their royalties, no matter the amount.
He called for calm, saying that the matter was being looked into by appropriate authorities and lamented that his life was being threatened by some people in the area inspite of all that he had done to make life better for his people.