|L-R: EdideE Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V and Gov Ben Ayade|
Our Correspondent|11 December 2018
The traditional ruler of the Efiks, the Obong of Calabar, Edidem Ekpo-Okon Abasi-Otu V has told the Cross River State Governor, Senator Ben Ayade that there is no available land anywhere in Efik land for him to grab and dish out as gifts to anyone or any group.
The monarch stated that the Efiks who own these lands have children who are young and will have need for the lands and wondered what would happen then if Ayade grabs all the available land now. He said it would lead to Efik sons resorting to buying lands from settlers.
The Obong who stated this when the Governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Mr. Eyo Ekpo paid him a visit at his palace, in Calabar the Cross River State capital, said he is not against Ayade giving out lands but he should go to Obudu, take land there and give to people.
The Obong of Calabar seemed to be responding to the statement made by the Governor, late last month at the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Cultural Day celebration where he promised to give the Igbos “a piece of land “at the Ayade industrial city “free of charge”, because “there are Bogobiri, Nasarawa and Bakoko Hausa communities in Calabar, it will not be out of place to have an Igbo City.”
It should be recalled that Ayade has consistently been accused of land grabbing in the name of the government since he assumed office. He was first accused of grabbing a piece of land belonging to St. Joseph Primary School in Obudu.
On another occasion, civil society groups accused Ayade of trying to grab land with his planned super-highway project, describing his plans as “trans-national corporations in land grabbing”.
The Guardian newspaper had also reported in June this year protests by some 400 farmers in Ochon, Obubra local government area who accused the governor of trying to steal their land.
Also, an online publication based in Cross River State, Calitown.com had carried out an extensive special report, detailing how the Governor is taking over the land at the Garment factory and the protest put forward by a group known as the “Oqua Royal Family Land Developers”.