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Five Communities Lament Cross River Govt’s Non-Payment Of N20m Royalty

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Cross River
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Five communities in Etung Local Government Area of Cross River State have accused the State Government of owing them over N20 million in royalty for their land used for cocoa cultivation.

Speaking to newsmen in Calabar, the state capital, on Wednesday, the paramount ruler, HRH Emmanuel Ojong, expressed disappointment over the non-payment of the money noting that it has affected the entire communities.

He listed the communities to include Etomi, Ajasor, Bendeghe Ekiem, Abia and Agbokim, saying the non-payment of the royalty was fueling suspicion in his domain.

“These five communities are the landlords of the estates where cocoa is produced and when the government wanted to privatize the estates, I set up a committee which took the government to court and we won.

“But for twelve years, government has refused to remit royalty to the communities,” adding, “Because of the non-payment of the royalty, there is tension in the area and as I speak to you now, there is a purported letter from the chairman of Etung John Nkom Etuk, that I have been suspended, leading to the seizing of my salary since April.”Ojong stated.

Ojong however, threatened to take the local government chairman to court for smearing his name, “for smearing my name,” and for purporting to get me suspended which he does not have the right to do.”

The Paramount Ruler said it was necessary for the state government to give the money which, according to him, is royalty to the five communities under his leadership.

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