We’ll integrate affected farmers — Govt

Dayo Johnson – Akure

Farmers in ldanre Community, Ondo state and the House of Assembly member,  Hon Festus Akingbaso, have kicked against the alleged displacement of thousands of farmers by the state government for private business owners.

Recall that the farmers in their hundreds had protested the plan by the state government to ceed over 50,000 hectares of their farmlands for private companies.

The protesters lamented that ” the state government has arrogantly given about 50,000 hectares of our land in the area to private business owners for 99 years.

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“This is unacceptable to us who are farmers in the community, they have destroyed  over 20,000 farmlands.

Reacting, the lawmaker representing the community, Hon Akingbaso, said that “government exits to protect the interest of the people not few opportunists in our midst.

Akingbaso alleged that “the state government had arrogantly given about 50,000 hectares of land in Idanre forest reserve to private business owners for the next 99 years.

“For some time there has been rumours and restiveness in respect of a purported move by the Government of Ondo State to cede the land of my people in Idanre to private companies.

“The fact is that the area known as Idanre Forest Reserve (A05) was submitted to the colonial power under the British indirect rule by an agreement dated 22nd day of September 1918 between Idanre Community and the colonial power represented by the Governor – General.

“The terms of the agreement are explicit. Among which is that “the area was constituted as a Forest Reserve for the joint use and benefit of Government and the Native communities owning the land”.

“Above term is clear and explicit and to Idanre people it is a running covenant in respect of the area.

“To the dismay of Idanre people the government of Ondo state without regard or deference to the Owa of Idanre and the people has arrogantly given about 50,000 hectares of land in the area to private business owners for 99 years.

“The following companies are known to be behind the moves to grab Idanre Land. These are Blue Sky Ltd (4000 hectares), Sao Agro services Ltd (10,000 hectares) and Rex (30000 hectares).

“On Sunday the 17th day of July 2022, SAO Agro services Ltd aided by eight vehicles loaded with personnel of Amotekun security corps and officers of the Nigerian Army invaded Ofosu area with a Bulldozer to begin the destruction of farm lands of over 20,000 farmers who are presently farming on the land.

“It is our believe that to alienate about over 50,000 hectares of land to private people to the detriment of over 20,000 citizens is immoral and illegal
Idanre people will not watch while the government is giving away the legacies from our forefathers and what should serve the future generation of Idanre away s to few business men.

“The reality on ground is that the government will not be able to manage the economic and social consequences of this move. Government exits to protect the interest of the people not few opportunists in our midst.

“I’m appealing to the Governor to stop this move and protect the image of its government as this is nothing but a move against the people. The so-called ceding of the land of our people to private people is against the spirit of Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999. This is an ill wind.

Contacted, the Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Agric and AgriBusiness, Pastor Akin Olotu, said it will not displace farmers at the Ofosu forest reserve, but would rather integrate them for better yields and improved income.

Olotu added that the state government has “designed a programme to bring farmers of same produce together as a cluster as being practiced in developed countries.

According to him this “will be able to meet the disabilities requirement, to get things done in the proper way and make it easier for the extension officers and other agricultural benefits get to them through one road.

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