Long perimeters fences of Cross River State Property Development and Investment Limited (CROSPIL) have been demolished by unknown persons suspected to be thugs in Cross River.
Also demolished were fences dividing CROSPIL and it neighbours at No 1 Bishop Maynagh Avenue, State Housing Estate, Calabar.
The incident occurred around 7 PM on Wednesday and lasted for a few hours.
An eyewitness, who declined to give his name but claimed to be a tenant in one of the affected buildings narrated that a group of men came to the CROSPIL and demolished the fences including the ones dividing the government establishment and private buildings.
CROSPIL is the Corporate Headquarters of Cross River State Property Development and Investment Limited established in 1969 under the name Cross River State Housing Corporation by the then South Eastern State Government, Edict No 14 of 1969 and was amended by the South Eastern State Housing Corporation amended Edict 1972 and the statutory corporation amended provision Edict of 1977.
The Corporation headquarters was commissioned in 1973 custodies over 5, 000 lands and housing documents of state government and individuals and the organization overseeing State Housing Estate, Federal Housing Estates, Ikot Ansa phase 1, 2, 3, Anansa Estates, Premier Housing Estate, Orange Resort Estares, Akpabuyo, Ikom Estates phase 1, 2, 3, 4, Ogoja Estates amongst others.
A staff of CROSPIL, who pleaded anonymity for fear of being sacked told newsmen that on the 2nd of September, they were in the office when they heard a loud noise of siren and they all came out to receive the guest who turned out to be Cross River State Governor, Prof Ben Ayade.
“When we saw him, we were so happy that our Governor had visited us and good things are coming but when he addressed us, we wept. He asked us to quit the place within seven days because he was going to annex the place and other places for establishment of an Academy for training of artisans for fabrication.
“We are fully aware that he bought some property for the establishment of over a fifty bedrooms hotel and the annexing of the CROSPIL and other property including Federal Mortgage, and other private property was for that use” he alleged.
“The Governor gave us seven days to quit the place with no adequate arrangement to quit. We are worried because we are custodian of land registry. In fact, research works about land and houses are done here, if you have a house or your parents or grandparents have houses in the State and you want to know the history, it’s only here that such information can be obtained.
“The Geographical Information Agency which Governor Liyel Imoke digitalized has since stopped functioning and it’s only here that information about land matters and houses are found, lawyers come here for title documents and other matters.
“It is the only registry we have in the State, all the estates are under us, Akpabuyo Estates has over 451 tenants, their documents are kept here. In case of litigations, documents for such activities are found here and if this is distorted, it means the state is finished and the consequence is great.
“We are not bothered about relocation but we are bothered about the registry, once they are distorted, it means people’s documents would not be safe any longer. Public document that is supposed to be kept in perpetuity because it could be called upon anytime would not be there any longer.
“These properties are under different mortgages and we are custodian of the document. Former Governor have houses here, this place is the heart of the state, it is not designed for that fabrication. It is a distortion of the original plan, a premier estates. We are keeping a register of every important instrument. By moving out it will distort the information we have. They are over 5, 000 documents here”.
The workers insisted that if government want to send them out, they will not want rental apartment, the reason is that this Government do not pay rents in the State.
“CUDA had been thrown out of their rental apartment, and local government service commission had been ejected due to non apartment of rents, Institutes for Management and Technology (IMT) office in Calabar had been sealed because government has not paid rents. The IMT Computers and other accessories are inside.
“At Hens Building at the Murtala Mohamed Highway, the LandLord has just thrown out government agency for non payment of rents. We don’t want to be in that kind of problem. We are not against the Governor taking over the place but let him purchase a place for us.
“How do you chase people out of their Corporate Headquarters, in an attempt to take over? During monetization exercise, we use our fixed assert to build six flats to enable us use the facility to obtain loans as collateral and yield profit. These are all here.
“However, the adjoining land belonged to Federal Mortgage Bank has been annexed to that property without cause to the Federal Mortgage. The house is under construction and it’s a four storey building on a plot, The fences have been broken without reference to the owner” a staff alleged.
“The other plot with building belongs to a company. The fence has been broken and was about to be annexed to the building and he promised to refund the money to the owner but he is yet to done so” a source further alleged.
Outside the building, there is proposed 4 storey building, they have decked the 2 so that they can do the 3rd floor and Governor Ayade has asked them to stop work because he wants to pay the owner who is in Lagos off.
“We have not been served with letters; it is only words of mouth, no letter at all. Seven days has expired and the fences have been broken, we don’t know what next but the entire place has been exposed to security risk.
“This fabrication and science academy of government Ben Ayade has no backing of the law as the State House of Assembly has not said anything about it. The workers alleged noting that the State has an Institution of Technology and Management in Ugep which is not functioning.
When contacted, the Managing Director of CROSPIL, Eno Obongha said “As a civil servant, I am to be seen and not heard, the Governor has given me an instruction and I owed him a duty to implement it to the later”.
Speaking on phone with our reporter, the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of land and Housing, Mary Omaji said, “Did Governor give any instruction or they are insinuating that Governor did not give such instruction? Anyway, I have not seen any letter. It is only when I see a letter or directive from the Governor, then I will believe such a thing.
“I don’t think the Governor would have asked them to quit without making adequate provision, I don’t think so. And until we have definite instruction from him, they can’t be saying that.
“I don’t know anything about the broken fence, CROSPIL may be in position to say how the fences were broken, I don’t know about that. There is no directive from the Governor. People are saying a lot of rubbish everywhere. He wouldn’t have given such directive.
“The Governor may be there for routine inspection, he inspects the whole State, he inspects the State Secretariat, he inspects projects. He may have gone there for inspection but not to tell them to pack. The majority of workers there are junior staff. They cooked up stories and that is what we are trying to avoid,” she said.