How Ayade’s administration made N60m from cocoa allocation – Aide

Bisola David
Bisola David
How Ayade's administration made N60m from cocoa allocation - Aide

The Cross River State Government has revealed that the state has earned almost N60m following the distribution of cocoa plots totaling hectares to contractors.

Leadership revealed that this was said on Sunday in Calabar by the special adviser to the recently-departed governor of Cross River State on cocoa development and control, Ntufam Dr. Oscar Ofuka.

Etung Cocoa landlord villages receive a portion of the money the government owes them in royalties for the land it used to occupy.

The payment of royalties to cocoa landlord communities, he continued, was accomplished through a system known as the Smartgov platform.

“Under the Smartgov, 49.5% of the money received by a contractor for a cocoa hectare plot is immediately deposited into the bank account of Cocoa landlord communities.

According to Ofuka, “40.5 percent goes to the Cross River State Internal Revenue Service IRS account and 10% goes to the Department of Cross River State Cocoa Development and Control.”

He emphasized that it’s the only way to ensure fast payment of the rent and royalties owing to the communities of cocoa landlords from the time of Governor Liyel Imoke’s administration to the present stressing that it’s the only strategy to defray the debt owed to the landlord communities.

According to him, he developed the Akin/Osomba Cocoa Estate in the Akamkpa Local Government Area under the Ayade Cocoa Legacy and grew 10 million cocoa seedlings, which he then planted in the Ayade Legacy Cocoa Estate at Akin Osomba.

Ofuka emphasized that in order to grow the cocoa program under the CBN cocoa initiative, the Department of cocoa development and control purchased 7,000 hectares of agro-forest land at Etara and Ekuri in Etung LGA.

Again, he stated that the cocoa and control department had bought 10,000 hectares of agroforest land in the Ndeghe community under the Central Bank of Nigeria’s cocoa program, with an access road being built to both the community and the farmland.

“Following the poor access roads in the estates, we graded access roads in the four government-owned cocoa farms.”

Ofuka claimed that when he was in charge, the department set up a demonstration farm at the Cross River State Broadcasting Cooperation in Calabar, where seedlings could be produced.

According to him, the department also established a database for allocation, and the information from that database was used for debt recovery during the 2016–2019 lease allocation.

Other accomplishments include the return of 32 hectares of the Cross River State cocoa farm at the Abonita cocoa estate in the state’s Etung LGA that had been forcibly transferred to private parties in the Ajassor community by a court consent judgment.

Regarding the summary of allocation, Ofuka stated that the total hectares available under the new six-year lease from 2024 to 2029 stood at 4,637, with approximately 1,208 hectares allocated to contractors. 

He also noted that 3, 429 hectares were still to be allocated, and he emphasized that more than N60 million had been generated with approximately N35 million in royalties paid to the landlord account as of May 24, 2023.

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