Epe Farmers Seek Sanwo-Olu’s intervention in Land Crisis

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The Afero/Itoikin Epe Commercial Farmers Cooperative has called on the Lagos State governor and his government to intervene on their behalf in an alleged land invasion by security operatives. This, according to them was to engender continued farming activities and promote food security in the state.

Wale Oyekoya, chairman of the cooperative, made the call during a news conference and peaceful protest at the Lagos State House of Assembly.

The protesters raised several placards with various inscriptions on them such as “No to military invasion”; “Farmers are human”; “No farmers no nation.”

Oyekoya said the farmers suffered lots of human rights abuses from security operatives who invaded their farmlands in Itoikin, Epe area of Lagos state. According to him, over 300 hectares of land were invaded which caused huge losses and rendered the farmers jobless.

“This development has negatively impacted our only source of livelihood, which was farming. Hence disrupting the agricultural sector of the economy.”

He recalled that in 2014, the Lagos State government sent a letter to Bama Farms Ltd. Informing them about plans to relocate the farm to make way for the long-proposed Lekki International Airport; then he and other farmers joined hands to engage the late Rotimi Williams, and were eventually compensated and relocated to Eluju Mowo/Mutaku area, Ibeju, Epe in 2015 under the administration of former Governor Raji Fashola.

However, he noted that they started having problems with the landowners popularly known as ‘Omoniles’ immediately after they took over the farms. “Thugs would come and disturb our farms: destroying our crops, and stealing our livestock, and as time went by, they brought thugs and estate developers to destabilise us.

“The estate developers started building on our farmlands and we reported all these to the government through the governor, Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Survey, Commerce and Justice with no response or action from them.

“The omoniles grew wings by harassing and threatening us with hired security operatives, with frivolous charges, and lawsuits on a land that was allocated to us by Lagos State government. The truth is, we have been through hell and hardship, and the Lagos State government turned deaf ears to our problems,” he said.

Oyekoya said the cooperative efforts through the ministry of agriculture and through the Agric Land Holding Authority which cost them almost N1 million yielded no good or effect.

According to him, this development, was reported to the Governor’s office, the attorney- general’s office, the commissioner, and the permanent secretary to the ministry of agriculture; yet nothing was done up to this moment. This gave the Omonile and estate developers more power to harass, threaten and disturb their farm businesses.

Adedamola Kasumu the deputy majority leader of the Lagos State House of Assembly, addressed the protesters and assured the matter would be attended to urgently.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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