Ondo farmers protest, lawmaker kicks over plan by govt to cede farmlands to private company
Farmers in Idanre, headquarters of Idanre Local Government Area of Ondo State have protested against the purported attempt by the government to seize their land for private use.
This was just as Hon. Festus Akingbaso, the Ondo State House of Assembly representative for the Idanre Constituency, kicked against what he claimed was an attempt by the state government to sell land owned by his people in Idanre to private companies.
Akingbaso, popularly known as Fessywest, claimed in a protest letter that the state government had flagrantly granted private business owners 99 years of access to about 50,000 hectares of land in the Idanre forest reserve.
The legislator, who is also running for the Idanre/Ifedore Federal Constituency under the PDP in 2023, stated, “There have been rumours and unrest around a supposedly planned action by the Ondo State government to hand over the land of my people in Idanre to private businesses for a while.
“The Idanre Community and the colonial power represented by the Governor-General signed an agreement on September 22, 1918, submitting the region known as Idanre Forest Reserve (A05) to the colonial power under British indirect administration.
“We believe that it is immoral and illegal for the government to give away the legacies of our ancestors and what should benefit the next generation of Idanre to a select group of businessmen. This includes giving away over 50,000 hectares of land to private individuals at the expense of over 20,000 citizens.
“The government will not be able to control the social and economic repercussions of this decision. Government exists to safeguard the interests of the people, not just a few opportunists.
“As this is nothing more than a maneuver against the people, I’m pleading with the Governor to halt this action and preserve the reputation of the administration. The Federal Republic of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution’s spirit is violated by the so-called ceding of our people’s land to private parties. This is an ill wind.”
Reacting, the Ondo State Government, stated that farmers at the Ofosu Forest Reserve will not be displaced, instead, they’ll be integrated for higher harvests and more income.
Speaking on the recent events at Idanre, Pastor Akin Olotu, Senior Senior Special Assistant to the Ondo State Governor on Agriculture and Agribusiness, said that the action was taken to refute claims that the state government had sold farmlands in Ofosu to a Chinese company.
Pastor Olotu described the situation at Ofosu as a mix-up that would be resolved correctly at a suitable time.
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