Home News N21 million Property Auction Splits Cross River Community 

N21 million Property Auction Splits Cross River Community 

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Andy Esiet. Calabar

The auction of about N21 million property has split the forest rich Okuni community in Ikom Local Government Area (LGA) of Cross River state.

The traditional council of chiefs, comprising of other sub authorities in Effi village of Okuni community led by an environmentalist, Mr. Odey Oyama is pitched against a lawyer, Elder Ichire Imo Okim and others for an alleged auctioning of property that belonged to the community without proper accountability.

Initially the property comprising heavy duty machines and equipment belonged to a private company (Mike Wood Plant) that had long abandoned it but court judgment had authorised the auctioning of the property on behalf of the community through Okim who held the power of autonomy purportedly donated to him by the said community.

But the traditional council of chiefs in Effi village alleged that Okim diverted the reported proceeds of over N21 Million that ought to have gone to them.

They have also accused him and others of refusal to disclose full details of the auction transactions, refusal to avail them the court judgment that authorised the auctioning as well as the power of autonomy purportedly donated to him by the said Community.

 Oyama, who said he was speaking on behalf of the Royal Conclave of Effi village in different letters accused the lawyer of “gross  negligent of duty to the client, (the community) bordering on alleged misconduct as it conflicts with rules of professional conduct of for legal practitioners…and denial of clients benefit of access to specific judgment in their matter” .

He was also alleged to have under declared the proceeds from the sale of the property and unilaterally shared peanuts to few persons in the community.

On the other hand, notable leaders of the Ikuni community like the former Commissioner of Police, Mr. Lawrence Alobi and Secretary of the Effi community and General Manager of Canan FM in Calabar, Mr Sam Nsoh sympathetic to Okim at weekend blamed Oyama for involving the press over family issues, insisting that they were going to issue a statement on the matter after a peaceful intervention and settlement by the elders of the community in Calabar. 

Reacting, Okim denied all the allegations against him by Oyama and the Royal Conclave of Effi village, saying, “what my brother has alleged are not true at all. Oyama has been acting on rumours. I am a lawyer of 30 years practice”.

He said, “I had acted as solicitor to the community and got judgement against the said company. We held several meetings with elders and chiefs of the community over the auction. The only money that came to me legitimately is my legal fees. 

“It is not also true that I gave monies to youth president and others. It was one Missang, a colleague, whom I asked to represent me at some of the legal hearings, that I gave money when he appealed that he had some challenges” .

Okim in a letter dated, 12 October 2022, responding to one of the letters from Oyama said, “I am under no obligation to disclose or divulge a client/solicitor brief to any person or purported conclave. Rules of professional engagement prohibits me from such.”

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