The Speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly Rt. Hon. Eteng Jonah Williams says the State Assembly will not support the use of Cross River Land for RUGA.
Williams was speaking during Plenary while the Lawmakers were interacting with the Leaders of the State Land Acquisition Committees earlier summoned by the House to offer public explanation on the proposed acquisition of 9000 hectares of land across the three senatorial districts of the State.
Members expressed dissatisfaction with the manner the Land Acquisition Committees have been operating without proper information to the House which according to them had led to public outcry as Cross Riverians have expressed fears that the State Government was planning to use the proposed Land for RUGA.
Members, while commending the State Governments efforts in the Agric sector, observed that the State Executive council was yet to be constituted and emphasized the need for due process to be followed in the acquisition of land.
Members who lamented that most of the communal clashes across the State were ‘’Land based’’ also noted that there were several plots of Land across the State already acquired by past State Governments and advised the Committees to explore the possibility of using these hectares of Land for the proposed Agricultural projects.
The House adopted a resolution that the Land Acquisition Committees should continue with the peaceful process of acquisition of Land for Agriculture and not RUGA while looking for any other fallow land earlier acquired by Government for use.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Land Acquisition Committee for Central Senatorial district, Hon. Dane Osim-Asu while briefing the Lawmakers emphasized that the State Government plans to use the proposed 9000 hectares for Agriculture in line with the World Bank’s APPEAL project adding that the target beneficiaries are Women, Youths and the affected Communities.
Also Speaking, the Chairman of the Land Committee for Southern Senatorial district Hon. Savior Nyong, assured that ‘’the land is not for RUGA’’ adding that the Committees will follow due process during the exercise.
On her part, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of the Lands, Mrs Mary Omaji reiterated the provision of the Land Use Act, adding that her Ministry has attached professional officers to each of the Committees. She emphasized that negotiations have begun and assured that no Community will be forced to donate her Land to the project.
It may be recalled that the House had summoned the Chairmen of the Land acquisition Committees in the three senatorial districts to offer public explanation on the State Government’s proposed acquisition of 9000 hectares of Land across the State following a Matter of Urgent Public Interest brought before the House by Member representing Boki 1, Rt. Hon. Itam Abang.