Protesting Ondo farmers accuse Akeredolu of forceful takeover, destruction of farmland

cores of farmers in idanre local government area of ondo on tuesday protested the alleged acquisition of their farmland by the state government.
the farmers, who deal in cocoa, plantain, cassava, cashew, maize, and yam among other crops, stormed the major streets of odode, alade, and atonsin, bearing placards with different anti-government inscriptions.

the angry farmers, mostly women, who farm in the ofosu area, a forest reserve in the town, shut down business activities for several hours as they demonstrated on the roads.

“we have been farming on the land for more than 30 years but it is unfortunate that the state government led by governor rotimi akeredolu came here and sold the land to private investors,” smart akinrigbola, spokesperson for the farmers said.

ondo currently produces 85,000 metric tonnes of cocoa, representing 40 per cent of the total cocoa produced in nigeria, according to the cocoa farmers association of nigeria (cfan).

data obtained from cfan projects nigeria to be the highest cocoa producer in west africa by 2027.

speaking during the protest on monday, mr akinrigbola said the farmers are aware that over 50,000 hectares of land in idanre have been sold to some private companies.

he stated that the farmers, having invested their life savings in the farmland, are wondering why the government allegedly sold the land without their knowledge.

he described the state government action as inhumane, saying most of the farmers use the farm proceeds to feed their families and send their children through school.

explaining the farmers’ efforts to ensure the farmland was retained, mr akinrigbola said that they had reached out to the authorities but their effort yielded no result.

he explained that the farmers had earlier written to the state governor through their lawyers, and immediately they were hinted about the move to sell the land.

“we even went to the monarch of the town and pleaded with him to prevail on the governor not to destroy our land but all didn’t yield any result.

“don’t also forget that the apc chairman in the state, ade adetimehin, is from this town. we have cried to him for help, but it seems his hands are tied.

“four days ago, they came to the land with a bulldozer and the operatives of the amotekun and the army to demolish everywhere on the farm.

“despite this, the government still went ahead to the farmland and destroyed our resources. it is painful and saddened,” the spokesperson said.

roseline akindana, a woman leader for the farmers, decried the state government action, saying the move would lead to the rise in crime in the town.

she revealed that some of the farmers have children who had graduated from school and since they could not get jobs, decided to join them in the farming business.

“it is better that the government gets this message, that we won’t allow this action to stay.

“we are ready to Ԁɪҽ to have our inheritance back. if they resisted us physically, we will fight them spiritually then,” mrs akindana тһɾҽɑтҽո‌ed.

akin olotu, senior special adviser to governor akeredolu on agricultural business did not pick nor return calls when peoples gazette reached out to him.

a message sent to mr olotu for reactions has not also been replied as at the time of publishing this story.

however, sources in the state government confirmed the acquisition of the farmland to the gazette, with one admitting that the state government had ceded thousands of hectares of the farmland, including the idanre forest, to private firms.

“the aim is to key into the central bank of nigeria (cbn) agricultural revolution in cashew and oil palm cultivation,” one of the sources, who craved anonymity added.

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