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Senate Urges Cross River Govt To Take Over Boki Oil Palm Estates' Management

Nigeria's Senate has passed a resolution asking the Cross River State Government to take over Boki Oil Palm Estates and effect delineation of the inter-community boundary as a way of restoring peace and harmony in the estate. The upper chambers of the National Assembly also passed a resolution urging the inspector general of police (IGP) to deploy officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force to take charge of security of lives and property at the Boki Oil Palm Estate to stem further escalation of the crisis as well as establish a Mobile Police Barracks in Boki Local Government Headquarters to ensure the reign of peace and stability there. These were some of the resolutions made during the Senate's plenary session on "The incessant spate of militancy; cult related killings and kidnappings as well as boundary dispute in parts of Boki Local Government Area,” sequel to a motion to this effect by Senator Sandy Ojang Onor (Cross River Central) and eight other senators. According to Senator Ojang Onor, the peace and harmony as well as the agricultural potency of Boki Local Government Area, being landlords to two oil palm estates and a cocoa plantation, were being threatened by the ceaseless and disturbing activities of these cultists. The lawmakers said the resolutions on the matter were imperative to guard against possible reprisal attacks by aggrieved parties, advising the  government of Cross River to act fast to quell the situation and restore peace and order in the agro-based warring communities. Onor in his motion on the floor of the Senate on the ugly incident recalled with regret that in recent times, Boki Local Government Area was plagued by incessant cult activities, land and boundary disputes, noting that most recently, kidnapping had claimed a good number of lives and several property destroyed. He intimated his colleagues that in October 22, 2019, Okundi Community in Boki Local Government Area lost four young men to death due to the crisis that erupted between cultists and the community. The Senator recalled with great dismay how on November 23, 2019, three non-indigenes who reside in Boje community, Boki Local Government Area, were kidnapped in a farm, expressing fear that the kidnap of those farmers had caused suspicion between Boje community and two neighbouring communities of Nsadop and Isobendeghe. Onor, who enlisted the cooperation of the senators on the issue, regretted that heightened tension has led to full blown inter-communal war which resulted in the loss of many lives and wanton destruction of property. He maintained that Cross River, which remained a state blessed with scintillating tourism, large forest reserves, mineral resources and numerous agricultural produce, requires the support of the leadership and membership of the Red Chamber of the National Assembly in passing a resolution for the state government to intervene in the matter to protect the oil palm estates as well as lives and property. The motion that was cosponsored by Senator Rose Oko (Cross River North); Senator Gershom Bassey (Cross River South); Senator Sank Musa Mohammed (Niger East) among others, made it possible for the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, to direct the senators to observe a minute silence in honour of the innocent farmers who lost their lives in the crisis. The Senators, during plenary session presided over by Lawan, condemned in strongest term the killings and destruction of property and called for the arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators to serve as deterrent to others. It was gathered that Boki Local Government Area of Cross River, being one of the largest local government areas in the State is endowed with large forest reserves and agricultural produce such as palm oil, cocoa, yam, cassava, timber among others, thereby contributing not only to food sufficiency but also to the economic viability of the country.

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