Cocoa farmers in Ofosu, Idanre Local Government area of Ondo State, on Monday protested against alleged sale of their farmland to a Chinese company by the state government.
The News Agency of Nigeria reported that the protesters blocked the Lagos/Benin Expressway, carrying placards with different demands.
Inscriptions on some of the cards read: “Respect Our Right to Livelihood’’, “Don’t Give Our Land to Mindless Capitalists’’ and “We Want to Remain Farmers and not Armed Robbers’’.
Others read: “No Farmers, No Nation’’, “Please, Don’t Take our Farms’’ and “Have Mercy on Us. Don’t Take our Farms’’
A community leader, Chief Kazeem Akinrimisi, the Sasere of Ofosu, told newsmen that the government proceeded to sell the land, even though the farmers were paying dues, and intend to complete the payment of the land.
Akinrimisi who claimed to have been farming on the land for more than 20 years, noted that more than 25,000 farmers registered by the state government had been paying their dues to the government.
He argued that said he paid N6 million as dues for farming on the land to the state government in 2021 and pleaded that government should allow the farmers to acquire the land instead of imposing foreigners on the indigenes.
“Farmers occupy 74 camps in the community spread over 20,000 acres of land,” he added.
An octogenarian, Elder Ezekiel Olatunji, in his reaction enjoined government to consider the lands as the farmers’ means of livelihood.
Olatunji said that he had been farming on the land for more than 20 years and that he paid N1.2 million as his due to the state government in 2021.
He stated that he was surprised that government decided to sell the land to foreigners, saying that cocoa is a major foreign exchange earner for Nigeria.
The octogenarian asked Gov. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu to allow the farmers to continue with the payment of dues, pleading that they could even pay more if desired by the government.
Meanwhile, the Olu of Ofosu, Oba Henry Olumakaye, appealed to the farmers to be calm and avoid violence.
The traditional ruler assured the farmers that the palace would hold a meeting with the state government on Tuesday, in order to find a solution.
Join the conversation
Support Ripples Nigeria, hold up solutions journalism
Balanced, fearless journalism driven by data comes at huge financial costs.
As a media platform, we hold leadership accountable and will not trade the right to press freedom and free speech for a piece of cake.
If you like what we do, and are ready to uphold solutions journalism, kindly donate to the Ripples Nigeria cause.
Your support would help to ensure that citizens and institutions continue to have free access to credible and reliable information for societal development.
INVESTIGATION: How roadside foods endanger consumers’ life with trans fat in northern Nigeria
With an estimated 854,000 deaths in Nigeria, and 3,229 attributed to trans fatty acids (TFA) -related cardiovascular deaths, ADESOLA IKULAJOLU visited Nigeria’s...
INVESTIGATION: Untold story of Ondo oil producing communities battling poor health system
Access to quality healthcare is one of the nightmares of communities in Ilaje local government area of Ondo State. Despite...
FEATURE: Ogun residents, waste collectors trade blames, as refuse litter environment
TIJANI ABDULKABEER, a journalist from the University of Ibadan, during a recent trip to Sango Otta, Ogun State took a look...
INVESTIGATION: How online fraudsters siphon victims’ funds through ‘SportyBet’ platform
As Nigeria transits into a cashless society, the evolution also creates opportunities for internet scammers to take advantage of unsuspecting...
SPECIAL REPORT: Enugu govt watches as waste takes over state, threatens public health, environment
In this report, Arinze Chijioke looks at how delays in evacuation of waste in Enugu State encourages indiscriminate waste disposal, its health implications, and how...