Ondo Farmers Protest Alleged Sale of Farmland to Private Company

Farmers in Ondo State protested on Tuesday against the state government’s alleged sale of their farmland to a private company.

During a press briefing in Akure, the state capital, the farmers accused ACME PALMS LIMITED of displacing them from over 2,000 hectares of farmland that they had leased from the state government.

The farmers, about 10,000 in number, reported that they had been cultivating the land in the Oluwa Forest Reserve for over 30 years. Their settlements are grouped into camps, including Ijoba, Sete II, Ipade, Ayeleso, Isero, Temidire, and Adeleye Itamerin in Odigbo Local Government Area.

Abayomi Isinleye, chairman of the Ijoba camp, explained that the land was rented to them by the state government and that they had been paying their dues. He expressed shock when company officials invaded the farmland, claiming it had been sold.

Isinleye accused ACME PALMS LIMITED of destroying crops worth millions of Naira, with security agencies preventing the farmers from stopping the destruction.

“Over 2,000 hectares of the Ondo State government forest reserve land have been taken over by ACME PALMS LIMITED under the protection of local security agencies. They have begun grading and forcefully taking over the land where about 10,000 farmers have cultivated over two million cocoa trees and other plantations,” he said.

Odungbemi Omolewa, Secretary of the Ijoba camp, also accused the company of bringing in tractors and trucks to destroy their crops, warning that this could lead to a food crisis in the state.

Omolewa added, “While the government can grant permission to log or farm in the forest reserve, we did not believe it could sell the land outright to private investors. Our investigations have revealed shady deals and potential conflicts of interest in this sale.”

The farmers have taken legal action against the state government, filing a suit in the State High Court. Represented by their counsel, Barrister Tope Temokun, the farmers named the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Akin Olotu (former chairman of the Ondo State Agribusiness Empowerment Centre), and ACME PALMS LIMITED as defendants.

They are seeking a court order to restrain the private company from asserting ownership or possessory rights over the land and from forcefully evicting the farmers or destroying their crops.


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