Farmers seek Makinde intervention over take over of farm settlement

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The Farmers Association of Akufo Farm Settlement in Ido Local Government area of Oyo State has called on the Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, to intervene in the alleged takeover of the settlement by estate agents and developers.

The call was made during a peaceful protest by the Akufo Farm Settlement Farmers Association, at the Oyo State Agribusiness Development Agency in Agodi, Ibadan, after several attempts to reach the government did not yield positive result.

Some of the placards displayed by the group read, ‘Save Akufo Farm Settlement’, “Housing estate cannot feed the nation’, ‘Say no to housing estate, yes to agriculture’.

In a statement made available to Sunday According on Friday, the President of the association, Adesola Oludare, explained how they had written a letter to the Oyo State Agribusiness Development Agency for a meeting, but their letters were met with silence, a development that made the group to embark on a protest.

He said, “We saw some people who came and said they came to make the place a housing estate. All we are saying is that this period of food insecurity is not when the government will make the lands available for developers. There are several other lands that can be used for development. There are housing estates that are only bearing names with nothing being done on them.”

“What the government should do now is to make food available. Unfortunately, what we heard is that about 40 hectares have been earmarked for a housing estate,” he said.

The immediate past president of the association, Johnson Alapelode, said since part of the Renewed Hope Agenda of the current President was food production, it was ironic to snatch their lands to build houses.

One of the protesters and a farmer, Mrs Sehinde, lamented that Chief Obafemi Awolowo initiated the site as a farm settlement for them.

“We have not received any help from the government we voted for. We have seen other housing estates that are only inhabited by goats. This is not the time to build houses on farm settlements. The government should help us and not suffer us.”

Another woman, Mrs Oluwafunmilayo Oyelami, who claimed to own some part of the land, begged the government to intervene.

“I own 25 acres out of the affected lands where we have palm trees for producing palm oil until these people came that the lands have been seized for housing estates. People have been crying and weeping since the land seizure. What we want is the government to release the farm for us and help our farming business.”

When contacted, the Special Adviser to the Governor of Oyo State on Agribusiness, Mr Olasunkanmi Akande, who said he was outside of the country, said that OYSADA never had any plan to turn the farm settlement to a housing estates.

He added that the state government had not announced turning the farm settlement into housing estates.

Akande said, “I think the focus should rather be on why houses are being built illegally currently on the land and the volume of agricultural activities going on there.”

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