Court Disbands Cross River Cocoa Allocation Taskforce

Court Orders Arrest Of Lawyer, Town Planner, Others For Forgery

A High Court sitting in Effraya, Etung local government area of Cross River State has granted a motion ex-parte disbanding the state Cocoa Allocation Surveillance Team from operating at the Government Cocoa Estate.

The court restrained the team from harassing allottees of government cocoa farms in Etung local government area of the state.

The order came five days after the Bassey Otu administration issued a statement suspending the activities of surveillance team at the cocoa estate in the state.

 The court headed by Justice Amajama Eneji, after the proceedings yesterday, adjourned the matter for augment on May 23, 2024 after a counter affidavit to the motion on notice and statement of defence was filed by counsel to Cross River State government, Barr. Woda Ogar.

In a brief interview with journalists at the court premises at Effraya, counsel to Cross River State government, Wada Ogar, said, “I just came today to find out that there were 27 others recently filed.

“The ex-parte application was all taken today and had been variously adjourned to May 23, 2024 for hearing of the motion on notice. But what I came here for were suit no. HA/16, 17 and 18, 2024 which have been served on me and I have filed my responses.

“Well, it is the allegation of the claimants that some hooligans are taking over the plots over which we are in court, harassing the people and all that.

“That is why in the first place, they brought an application ex-parte to restrain those people and then they alleged that, surveillance committee set up by government was being used to perpetrate illegalities, because of that, the court made another ex-parte which had gone viral” Woda said.

Meanwhile, counsel for the claimants, Mba Ukweni (SAN), averred that he and his clients (claimants ) came to court to take a motion for interlocutory injunction to restraint government and its agents, her appointees  from interfering with allottees  of government cocoa farms.

“So, we were served with their counter affidavit yesterday but, my learned friend for the defendant was gracious enough to bring to the attention of the court that from which ever perspective whether the government was not aware of the pendency of the matter made by the court which they have or from other sources for other reason decided that they should disband the taskforce which my colleague brought to the attention of the court.

“We had to leverage on it and said if the government itself have now discovered that the activities of the members of the taskforce and the people they are using to harass people in the estate is illegal, the court should give a stamp of legal authority to that and restrain them.

 “So, the court agreed with both of us and has made the order which is as good as an interlocutory injunction. it is an order of court restraining them so, the status quo remain parties have to continue with what they are doing.

“The people who had been allotted estate cocoa farm have to continue with the allocation because that is the status quo.

“As at January, they have already been led into possession so, they have to be in possession and do their work. It doesn’t have to be disturbed; work does not have to be disturbed by any person at all,” he said.

When asked to explain what would happen in the eventuality of disregarding the court order, Ukweni said, “If they disrespect the court order, the law is not limited in what to do, they will be sanctioned.”


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