Posted By: Odunayo Ogunmola
Residents of Obasanjo and Fayose estates on Ado-Ikere Expressway have condemned the alleged destruction of their farmlands by officials of the Ekiti State Housing Corporation.
They expressed shock that the government agency, last Friday, used bulldozers to destroy their farms under the pretext that they were acting on the orders of Governor Ayo Fayose “without any prior notice”.
One of the residents said seven workers of the corporation, including a surveyor, destroyed crops, such as yams, cassava and maize.
The source said the corporation’s General Manager, Babasoji Awe, visited the place on Saturday, saying he was carrying out the governor’s instruction.
Some policemen at nearby Fayose Estate, whose farms were destroyed, reportedly threatened to shoot any official seen on their farms.
The policemen said the corporation’s officials were lucky not to meet them at home when they deployed their bulldozer in the area.
A resident, who spoke in confidence, said: “We were shocked by the government’s action to destroy our farms. This is because the owners of the land gave us the approval to farm on it so that it could be secured for them before they develop the land.
“This is the same government that said we should go back to the land at a period our salaries are not regular. At least, five of us were affected at Obasanjo Estate; about 20 mobile policemen at Fayose Estate were also affected.
“The Landlords’ Association was not carried along and there was no prior notice before our farms were bulldozed. We are sad about this development. The loss is very huge.”
Addressing reporters on the incident, Awe said the housing estates were not meant for farming.
The agency chief said the residents’ farming on the land was not approved.
He said the demolition was “in overall public interest”.
According to him, the action was without malice and political undertone.
Awe said: “They (farmers) didn’t get our permission before commencing farming on the land. We have to open up the roads to give access to other land owners so that they can have access to their plots.
“We have a masterplan of the estate, which should not be alerted. The estate is for housing extension; it is not meant for farming. The action has no political undertone. There is no sentiment or malice in what we have done.”