A high court in Cross River has banned the State Cocoa Allocation Surveillance taskforce from operating at government Cocoa plantations in Etung LGA.

They are also barred from stopping the cocoa plot allottees from working on the plantations.

The court sitting in Effraya town, was presided over by Justice Amajama Eneji.

The court’s injunction restrains the task force from harassing allottees of government cocoa farms in Etung local government of the state.

Governor Bassey Otu had barred some allottees of the plantation from accessing it but they dragged the administration to court

The court, after proceedings, adjourned the matter for argument on May 23, 2024, after a counter affidavit to the motion on notice.

A statement of defence was filed by the Counsel to the Cross River State government, Woda Ogar.

In an interview with journalists, Ogar, said, “The application’s ex parte was all taken today and had been variously adjourned to May 23rd for hearing of the motion on notice.

“But what I came here for was 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 cocoa 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 the surveillance committee set up by the government was being used to perpetrate illegalities, because of that, the court made another ex parte which had gone viral,” Woda said.

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

“So, We were served with their counter affidavit yesterday.

“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 the court restraining them so, the status quo remains, 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.”

Ukweni ruled out the possibility of the government ignoring the court order.

Ukweni said, “If they disrespect the court order, the law is not limited in what to do, they will be sanctioned.

“On the 23rd, the court will give a ruling on the ones we had moved today and then, we will proceed to argue the ones that were adjourned to the 23rd.”

Court bans govt cocoa taskforce from evicting workers in Cross River

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