No fewer than one thousand farmers across five communities in Ekiti on Monday staged a protest against non-payment of compensation for their farmlands acquired by the state government.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that their farmlands were acquired for the ongoing construction of the agro-allied Cargo Airport.
The farmers, who carried placards of various inscriptions, pleaded with Governor Kayode Fayemi to consider their plights and investment on their farmlands and as well pay them compensation as promised.
They are mostly aged and widows from Igbogun, Aso, Igbemo, Ijan and Orun Bolorunduro communities located on Ado-Ijan Road, in Ado Local Government area of the state, where the Airport project is located.
Mr Oso Olorunfemi, who spoke on behalf of the aggrieved farmers, said that the farmers from the five affected communities had lost huge amount of money they invested in their crops.
Olorunfemi called on the governor to urgently address their grievances and pay them the compensation.
He said that the farmers would be left with no other option, but to storm the site and invoke spiritual power on the land, which he said could be disastrous, if the state government refused to pay them within the next seven days.
“It is the state government that said people should embrace farming, but here we are now after so much investment on Cocoa, plantain, Cassava, Palm trees and other cash crops, the state government came and destroyed them.
“Since March, we have been on this issue, but nothing is forthcoming, all we hear is promises and assurances.
“We are tired of promises, we need our money to start life again, because we are completely down at the moment. We are aware some people have been paid, but not all of us,” Olorunfemi said.
Addressing the protesters, Mr Bunmi Awotiku, the Coordinator of the Airport project, advised the protesting farmers to embrace peace, assuring them that the state government was attending to their demands, adding that they would soon be paid.
Awotiku said that about N500 million had been paid to some farmers across the communities in relation to the lands acquired for the airport project.
He, however, pleaded with them to show more understanding with the state government.
The protesting farmers carried placards with different inscriptions including: “Ekiti Assembly Please Come to Our Aids”; Governor Fayemi should pay Our Money without Delay”; The Farmers are Crying for Help”; “We Need Commission for Our Land Acquired by Government”, among others.