On the 2nd of June 2021, at about 11:45am, heavily armed thugs invaded Ajasor community in Etung LGA, their mission was to destroy the only opposition to the possession of a large expanse of cocoa plantation, the Abonita Cocoa Estate.
The assailants numbering over ten, shot sparodically as they approached the residence of Mark Prince Mbu, an alledged owner of the estate. According to Mark Prince, the Cocoa estate is an inheritance, spaning three generations.
He claims to be the rightful owner of the estate, having inherited same from his father who was a prominent traditional ruler in the area. The assailants were looking for Mark Prince Mbu
Alledgedly on the orders of the Special Adviser to governor Ben Ayade on cocoa development and control, Dr. Oscar Ofuka directed the gun weilding thugs to return with the head of Mr. Mbu.
” They were shouting and calling me to come out from wherever I was hiding, that they want to carry my head and hand over to Oscar Ofuka and Chilo. I could hear them clearly from where I was hiding” Mr. Mbu said.
According to him, he succeded in escaping from his hidding but his 17 years old helper at home was not so lucky as he was shot by the assailants and after setting his house on fire, perhaps from the fraustration of not being able to capture him, the young boy was thrown into the fire while his killers watched him roast to death.
The governor’s aide, Oscar Ofuka denied ever sending anyone to inflict pain or injury on him. ” I can’t do such a thing. I have never in my life done such and will never do” He told The Parchment in response to the weighty allegations and inquiry into about two months long investigation into the cocoa mafia activities in Cross River State central.
Flaunting letters jointly signed by some traditional rulers, Ofuka insisted that the Abonita cocoa estate does not belong to Mark Prince nor his family but the Cross River State government.
On the 12 of June 2021, in a move suspected to be retaliatory, about six heavily armed men in a commando style stormed the residence of Dr. Ofuka after trailing one of his drivers to his house at 50 Palm street, in Calabar south. After severe torture, the men at gun point directed him to lead them to Ofuka’s apartment.
Several shots were fired at different corners of the room including the ceiling in search of the governor’s aide.
An eye witness narrated disturbing scenes of what transpired. ” We don’t know who they were, we thought they were kidnappers because of the way they entered the compound. I was slapped severally and kicked in the stomach by people I don’t even know, while a gun was pointed at my head, requesting to know the whereabout of Oscar Ofuka” said a young lady who didn’t want her name in print for fear of intimidation.
The governor’s aide would later accuse a retired Assistant Inspector General of Police, Joseph Mbu of masterminding the attack.
Joseph Mbu and Ofuka fell out when the later was appointed adviser to governor Ayade. Mbu accused Ofuka of pocketing over N300 Million as royalties belonging to the cocoa producing communities in Etung.
Joseph Mbu who is strongly in support of Mark Prince retaining the Abonita cocoa estate, reported to be the largest cocoa estate in the state also enjoys the support of the council chairman, Hon. John Ngom Etuk.
Mbu is accusing Dr Ofuka of handing over some of the cocoa plantations of their community to family members of governor Ayade and known thugs in other to buy favour and support.
Although Ikom, Obudu, and Boki are also cocoa producing areas, the cocoa marfia in Etung seem to be the deadliest. Senior members of the political class, the military, as well as some businessmen, fights for control of cocoa plantations using thugs who are mainly members of top secret cult groups.
Early this week, after several failed attempts, the governor’s aide was abducted on the premises of the Cross River State Broadcasting Corperation as he waited for the arrival of the state deputy governor, Prof. Ivara Esu to kick off the cocoa planting season.
He was later rescuded by a detachment of policemen from the state police command along the lonely Jonathan bypass road. An action reportedly initiated by retired AIG Joseph Mbu.