Landlord cocoa communities of Abia, Agbokim Waterfalls, Ajassor Ekiem, Bendeghe Ekiem, Effraya Ekiem, Ekimaya, Ekugatai and Etomi in Etung local government area of Cross River state are boiling over the inability of the state government to pay years of royalties.
This has resulted in gun-wielding young men threatening government officials, paramount ruler, clan heads and all those they accused of frolicking with the state government to deny the people of what they see as their inheritances.
In a chat with Journalists in Calabar, the Paramount Ruler of Etung, HRM Ntue-Atue (Dr) Emmanuel Ojong, said gunmen threatened to kill him together with some of his cabinet members for a crime he has not committed.
Dr Ojong said he was surprised when the Chairman of the council area, allegedly caused an announcement to be made on radio over a purportedly suspension of paramount ruler of Etung and some of his cabinet members for not signing a document which sought to set up a parallel cocoa committee other than the one set up by government.
The Royal father appealed to the state government to pay the said royalties to cocoa landlord communities so as to stop the breakdown of law and order in the tension-soaked communities.
“My life is under threat. Few days ago, they even attacked the special Adviser to Gov Ben Ayade on Cocoa Development and would have killed the young man for nothing. I hereby appeal to our governor to pay these royalties so that peace could return to Etung.
“They are accusing and threatening us for nothing as government has not released the fund. With all good conscience, I make bold to say that I have not collected a dime from anybody,” he stated.
On his purported suspension, the paramount ruler said there was nothing in the Cross River state traditional rulers council edit that gives powers to local government chairmen to suspend a sitting paramount ruler, saying he was ready to contest the said suspension in court.