Reinstated Paramount Ruler of Etung Local Government Area, Dr. Atue Ojong, disclosed that he was framed and suspended by the Cross River State Government in May 2021.
Ojong, in an interview with journalists in Ikom on Tuesday, said he was accused of embezzling royalties meant for cocoa landlord communities of Etung, which the state government only started paying recently.
He said without giving him a fair hearing, he was suspended by the state government, and all benefits accrued to him were also suspended.
A High Court sitting in Calabar had, on March 23, reinstated the suspended traditional ruler and slammed a fine of N50 million on the state government as compensation to the royal father for psychological trauma.
Delivering judgment on the matter with suit number HC/96/2022 between Ojong, the claimant, the government of Cross River and four others, Justice Elias Abua ordered that the claimant be reinstated, and all benefits accrued to him be paid.
The court further restrained the state government from issuing any certificate of recognition to anyone under the guise of the paramount ruler of Etung LGA.
This was because, according to the court, the claimant was never dethroned, nor was his certificate of recognition withdrawn.
According to the royal father, “today the state government has begun making payment of the cocoa royalties, so where did I misappropriate the cocoa fund?
“I thank God that the court, which is the last hope of the common man, still exists.
“I have forgiven all those who conspired and framed me up for reasons best known to them.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that paying royalties to cocoa landlord communities has been a subject of much controversy in the last few years in Cross River.