Invasion Of Camp 3 Cocoa Estate By Armed Police And Soldiers: Etung Cocoa Landlords Cry Out 

By Jonathan Etuk

The end of the running battle between cocoa estate landlords of Etung local government area of Cross River and the government of Cross River State and her agents seem not to be near. There has been various measures deployed by the government and her agents to subdue and subjugate the people of Etung local government who are the legitimate owners of cocoa estates spanning hundreds of hectres.

Recall that in August last year, truck-loads of mobile police officers were deployed to the same Camp 3 Cocoa estate by Mr Oscar Ofuka (Special Adviser to Gov. Ben Ayade on Cocoa Development and Control) to surpress, subdue, crack down and intimidate the innocent people of the area. Their offence is because they have doggedly resisted the exploitation of their collective wealth (cocoa estates). The mobile police officers illegally deployed to the area shamefully and dishonourably left the cocoa estate after their failed mission. The youths of the area resisted the occupying force of Mr Oscar Ofuka and his co-conspirators. Below is a video of their shameful exit from Camp 3 Cocoa estate last year.

Few days ago the Cross River Commissioner of Police dispatched about thirty mobile police personnel and a detachment of three teams of Operation Puff Adar to join 25 others on ground at Camp 3 cocoa estate . An additional 20 army personnel joined the Police to the area. It is an open secret known to the people of the local government that Camp 3 Cocoa Estate is where the Cross River Commissioner of Police, the Deputy Commissioner Operation, the Cross River State Attorney General, AIG Njom (Rtd.), Oscar Ofuu, Mbek Tangban and other top government officials were illegally allocated blocks of Cocoa estates meant for the youths of the area. No wonder the Camp 3 cocoa estate attracts such protection by armed security agents.

It is a general perception of the people of the local government that there is a visible connivance and conspiracy between Mr Oscar Ofuka, the State Commisioner of Police and other top government officials to deprive the youths of the area of their legitimate benefit.

This has precipitated youths restiveness in the area. Meanwhile, it is believed that the czar of the Etung cocoa estate, Mr Oscar Ofuka, influences the Police authority in Cross River State who periodically at his request and vague, pretentious petition of Ambazonians invading the cocoa forests, deploys such outfits as anti-cultism, anti-kidnapping, Anti-narcotics etc to the same area for the purposes of general intimidation and extortion from the people. Over thirty persons have so far been arrested and some released after parting with amount ranging between N200,000 to N300,000.

The traditional rulers are crying out against what they described as total abuse of power and total submission of the State Commissioner of Police to the whims and caprices of Governor Ben Ayade, his Aides and agents. Tension is building up. The local government traditional rulers are again calling on the Chairman of Police Service Commission, IGP Alhaji Musiliu Smith (Rtd.) to review the conduct of the State Commissioner of Police, his DCP and ACP. The Commission must as a matter of urgency intervene before there is a complete loss of respect, dignity and goodwill, especially among the inhabitants of Etung local government area of Cross River State against officers of the Nigeria Police.

Meanwhile, the Assistant Police Commissioner (ACP) Asuquo, who is the Commander of Mopol 75 has deployed about sixty mobile police officers in and around Camp 3 cocoa estate. As the nation comes to grip with the unfolding abuse of authority as police officer, typified by DCP Abba Kyari, it is pertinent that the Nigeria Police authorities begin to investigates their officers in Cross River State. A stitch in time they say, saves nine because to be before warned is to be before harmed.

The battle for the recovery of N12M and N400M cocoa royalties for Etung Cocoa Landlords after the consent judgement of October 2019 has continued to receive oppressive resistance from the state Government using security Agencies. Out of the N1.5 B realized from a fraudulent allocation exercise in Nov 2019, the Government of Ayade has resisted honouring the content of the consent judgement.