All private property constructed on Cross River Water Board properties without formal authorization has been proposed for confiscation by the Environment Cluster, a subcommittee of the Transition Report Review Committee, TRRC, established by the Cross River State administration.
The suggestion was made in a report of the Cluster to Chairman of the TRRC, Ntufam Fidelis Ugbo, dated 19 June 2023 and leaked to the public on Tuesday. The committee had been created for the Recovery of Government Properties stolen by officials.
Cluster Chairman Odey Oyama recommended that the TRRC chairman request the state governor to read and act on the report.
Between 2015 until 2023, when Prof. Ben Ayade’s term ended, government bureaucrats totally appropriated the hectares of state Water Board land and erected opulent buildings there.
Field investigations revealed that significant private building of permanent structures on the Water Board territory, contrary to the legislation,” read a section of the report compiled by the Environment Cluster. During our discussions, we discussed and analyzed the unusual construction that has taken place on the property.
Land owned by the Water Board was acquired by the government for the greater good and Gazetted, as the Cluster took note of. Cluster members also noted that no copies of the Gazette were found to show that any of the aforementioned land had been reassigned to any particular individuals.
Therefore, the Cluster is unanimous in its belief that the state government should claim ownership of any buildings located on Water Board property. QED.”
They cited the several court rulings that upheld the land’s status as being in the public interest above all others and therefore off limits to private development.
They have also urged the governor to adhere to the settled interpretation of the Land Use Act’s provisions.
Governor Bassey Otu’s chief of staff, Emmanuel Ironbar, has
hoped that the Transition Review Report and Recovery of Government Properties review committees would do a good job and help them achieve their goals.
Ironbar has promised to reclaim any government property that has been stolen by whatever means necessary.
Ironbar made these remarks before setting out on an exhaustive tour of all government-owned buildings in the Calabar metropolitan area.
He explained that the examination was called for because of the pressing necessity to reclaim all government properties currently held by unauthorized individuals and groups.
It is customary for outgoing public servants to vacate their posts when their terms in office end, giving the incoming administration access to the buildings and resources it has earmarked for its use.
“But what I have seen as I have gone around is very pathetic that government properties have been sold out, it is not right because if other administrations before now had done the same, then successive governments would have had no property to inherit,” Ironbar said.