Enraged Etung Youths Protest Unjust Allocation of 2024 C/River Cocoa Funds Under Otu Administration

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As disagreement continues to surround the 2024 allocation of the Cross River State Cocoa Estate, Bendeghe-Ekiem youths are the latest among the landlord communities to call on Governor Bassey Otu to investigate the double-dealings, injustice and usurpations that characterized the just concluded exercise NEGROIDHAVEN can report.

Recall that youths in Agbokim and Etomi communities had taken to the streets in peaceful protests to air out their displeasure following the allocation.

In another nonviolent demonstration, Bendeghe-Ekiem youths have described the Ebori Nku-led Cocoa Allocation and Regeneration Committee high handed, for reserving the most viable cocoa plots for themselves, family members, politicians and highly placed people in the society, with a chunk of the most viable blocks alloted to big cocoa merchants who are strangers; then shamelessly giving the moribund, good-for-nothing plots, which ought to be marked for regeneration, to the common people.

The Committee was also accused of placing the A-list plots allocated to themselves and their cohorts in lesser categories in the selfish bid to pay smaller charges as government fees, and marking the moribunds farms as ‘category A’ and making the common man pay on their behalves. These insubordination is against the present administration’s desire to take restive youths off the streets through meaningful agriculture, with state cocoa estate as the pivot for Etung and its neighbouring local government areas. It is starkly in contrast and logically incongruous to the ‘People First’ agenda of the Governor Bassey Otu-led leadership.

Listening to the leader of the protesting youths in Bendeghe-Ekiem, simple referred to as ‘Zeal,’ their demands were simply for government to revisit the allocation process and make sure that it aligned with its agenda of making the common Cross River youths, especially in the landlord communities engage in the profitable venture of cocoa farming, against the restive nature they have been hitherto been notorious for.

The livid Bendeghe-Ekiem youths particularly blamed their representative in the Committee, Amba Ogar, who is the Secretary, for playing a subservient role against the vast majority of members his community for some selfish, self-serving, sinister and politically motivated reasons. They rued the unfortunate development where the beneficiary of the appointment made no significant contributions before, during and after the electioneering and eventual emergence of the Otu-led administration, little wonder he (the Secretary) boasts of buying the said appointment.

Several Stakeholders and opinion leaders in Etung have also lent their voices, calling on government to listen to the yearnings, hue and cries of the Cocoa landlord communities of Etung, noting that, should same youths agitating for inclusion through the cocoa estate be left unattended to, then the end result would be a security situation where those in the allocated cocoa plots may likely not be able to gainfully possess those farms because of intrusion from aggrieved youths. Such situation, if left unabated, could spell a lose-lose for both government and the local micro economy of the people, which is largely driven by cocoa business in the area.

If the present administration must live to its truly ‘People First’ mantra, then the demands of the majority of Etung youths should be treated with utmost urgency, for “no oppression is so heavy or lasting as that which is inflicted by the perversion and exorbitance of authority.”