Some farmers and landowners in the area acquired by the Ekiti State Government for the construction of a cargo airport, on Monday, protested the delay in the payment of compensation to them for the land.
Mr Osho Olorunfemi, who spoke on behalf of the placard-carrying farmers, said, “We are giving the government a seven-day ultimatum for them to pay us and if they default, we will be here on the airport site to do the needful and whatever happens after, we should not be blamed.”
The protesters, who came to the airport site and later Ado Ekiti for the protest from Igbogun, Aso, Igbemo, Ijan and Orun Bolorunduro communities, pleaded with Governor Kayode Fayemi to consider their plights and investments in the farmlands and pay them compensation as promised by the government.
Among the inscriptions on the placards were: ‘Governor Fayemi should pay our money without delay’, ‘The farmers cry for help’, ‘We need commission for our land acquired by govt’ and ‘Ekiti Assembly please come to our aid’.
Olorunfemi said, “It is the government that said people should embrace farming, but here we are now; after so much investment in cocoa, plantain, cassava, palm tree and other crops, the government came to destroy them.
“Since March, we have been on this issue, but nothing is forthcoming. All we hear is promise and assurance since then. We are tired of promises; we need our money to start life again, because we are completely down at the moment. We are aware that some people have been paid, but not all of us.”
The coordinator of the airport project, Mr Bunmi Awotiku, however, advised the affected farmers to embrace peace, assuring them that the government was attending to their demands and that they would soon be paid.
“Let me assure you on behalf of the governor that everybody with a farm there will be paid. Your money will be paid, I can assure you,” Awotiku said.
He added that about N500m had been paid to farmers across the communities in relation to their land acquired for the airport project.