Ondo cocoa farmers oppose land sale to foreigner
Some cocoa farmers in Ofosu community in the Idanre Local Government Area of Ondo State, has expressed their opposition and displeasure to selling their farmland to a foreign company.
To express their opposition to the government’s move, the farmers staged a protest on Lagos-Benin Expressway on Monday.
The farmers said sellimg their farmland to a foreign company would deprive them of their livelihoods.
They appealed to the government to be considerate and think twice about the planned sale, adding that they had been paying their dues to government agencies for farming on the government forest for many years.
During the protest, they carried placards with different inscriptions, including ‘Respect our right to livelihood’, ‘Don’t give our land to mindless capitalists’, ‘We want to remain farmers and not armed robbers’, ‘No farmers, no nation’, ‘Please, don’t take our farms’, ‘Have mercy in us; don’t take our farms’, among others.
One of the protest leaders, Chief Kazeem Akinrimisi, said the farmers had been on the land for over 20 years.
He said they had been cooperating with government directives since 2019 without any misunderstanding as thousands of them were captured in the data registration of farmers by the state government.
Akinrimisi, who noted that the farmers occupied 74 camps of the community on 20,000 acres of land, said he personally paid N6m as dues for farming on the land to the state internally generated revenue agency in 2021.
“We want to plead that the government should allow farmers to acquire the land instead of being under foreigners,” he added.
Another protester, Pa Ezekiel Otatunji, urged the government to consider the means of livelihood of the farmers, noting that he had been farming on the land for over 20 years and he had paid N1.2m as his due to the government.
He said, “I was surprised that the government is ready to sell the land to foreigners and we know that cocoa is a major foreign exchange for Nigeria. We want to appeal to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu to allow us pay our dues as we have been doing.”
In his reaction, the monarch of Ofosu community, Oba Henry Olumakaye, appealed to the farmers to be calm and peaceful.
Olumakaye said the palace was planning to hold a meeting with the state government on Tuesday over the matter.
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