While it may be almost correct to say that Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State may have a mantra for infrastructural development and a drive for industrialization, it appears that this charade is all in the guise of grabbing lands belonging to innocent citizens and located in choice areas in order to expand his numerous personal business investments.
This is discernible in the proposed Obudu Garment factory which was initiated by Governor Ayade’s led administration in 2016 which evidently have been abandoned and converted into a private parking lot for trucks and other heavy-duty vehicles which we learned belongs to two private companies; Leophina Construction Company and Sydney Construction company allegedly owned by the governor.
The land proposed for the factory SecretReporters uncovered once housed an existing primary school known as St. Stephen Primary School which coincidentally was the same school from which the governor obtained his primary school education. The Undelikwo family who initially owns the land which is located right next to the governor’s hotel, claim to have given the land to the Lutheran Church to build the school at no cost thus vehemently resisted government takeover of the land stating that “if the school was no longer needed, the land should revert to them.”
“He is only attempting to grab those lands in order to expand his hotel, which is next to the site and not for any garment factory. The garment factory built in Calabar is so that nobody will be thinking of the proposed factory at Obudu, then he can quietly use the land to expand his hotel”, a member of the family alleged.
It was also alleged that in a bid to satisfy his gluttonous business ambition, the governor resorted to using security operatives to intimidate and harass members of the family who dare question his illegal acquisition of their land after parting with a paltry sum as payment to them.
There are speculations that the governor chose the land where the primary school is located for the moribund garment factory because of its strategic location to his hotel which will be a perfect opportunity to convert it for the expansion of his hotel.