•Farmer’s body taken to village for burial
Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose has suspended work in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital.
This followed a meeting with land owners and farmers at Jibowu Hall of the Government House yesterday.
An oil palm plantation farmer, Tijani Hakeem, was said to have died of shock after the destruction of economic trees on his plantation by government bulldozers.
It was gathered yesterday that Tijani’s remains were conveyed to his village in Kogi State for burial.
At the meeting, which was also attended by officials of the Ministry of Works and Transportation, Fayose appealled to land owners and farmers and promised to compensate them.
The governor said his administration had resolved to suspend work until December to allow for the payment of compensation.
He noted that the suspension would also allow plantation owners and farmers to harvest their crops.
Fayose said: “Ekiti is my own priority and the innocent will not suffer under me.
“There is no desperation because of the airport. I will not say you should suffer. In the meeting we chose enumerators to go to your land.
“The law gives me power to acquire land in the overall in the overall interest of the state. I love you more than you imagine, this project is your project and I have set aside compensation for you.
“I feel your pains but the government has to move ahead. This project will stay down till December to allow enumerators to do their work and for you to harvest your crops.”
Speaking with reporters before the meeting, one of the plantation owners, Julius Fabiyi, described Hakeem’s death as unfortunate, noting that the deceased could not bear the shock of the loss of his farm.
He said Hakeem was survived by a wife and six children, saying the community of Aso Ayegunle and its environs had been mourning.
Fabiyi said he had developed hypertension since the airport project started.
A cocoa farmer, Julius Oso, said they were shocked that bulldozers could be mobilised to the site without notice and compensation
Oso said the leader of the Iwajo Family, Chief Italohun Fadahunsi, was also suffering from hypertension.
He said further: “We were not given any notice, they started bulldozing the land and this was very shocking.
“We are talking about cocoa plantation that extended to Afao, Igbogun, Igemo, Iwajo and Ijan.
“I don’t know the value the airport will bring to us; this project will displace a lot of people and deny them access to their means of livelihood.
“These cocoa plantations are our means of livelihood and we should not be thrown out of jobs.
“This land belongs to the Iwajo Family and we have been on this land since time immemorial.”
Commissioner for Works and Transportation Kayode Oso said the government would follow due process and ensure payment of compensation to land owners.