Some cocoa farmers in Ofosu in Idanre Local Government area of Ondo State have protested over sales of their farmland to Chinese company by the state government.
The protesters, who blocked the popular Lagos/Benin Expressway, carried placards with different inscriptions such as: ” Respect Our Right to Livelihood”, Don’t Give Our Land to Mindless Capitalists, “We Want to Remain Farmers and not Armed Robbers”, among others.
Kazeem Akinrimisi, the Sasare of Ofosu, who spoke to journalists during the protest, noted that he had been farming on the land for over 20 years.
Akinrimisi explained that the farmers had been paying their dues to the state government agencies for farming on the government reserve for years.
He said that no fewer than 25,000 were captured in data registration of farmers by the state government, adding that they had been cooperating with the government directives since 2019 without any misunderstanding between the two parties.
Akirimisi, who said that he paid N6 million as his dues for farming on the land to the state internally generated revenue agency 2021, pleaded that the government should allow the farmers to acquire the land instead of being under foreigners.
According to him, the farmers occupy 74 camps of the community on 20,000 acres of land.
Another protester, Ezekiel Otatunji, an octogenarian, however, asked the government to consider means of livelihood of the farmers .
Olatunji said that he had been farming on the land for over 20 years, adding that he had paid N1.2 million as his due to the government.
He stated that he was surprised for the government’s readiness to sell the land to foreigners, saying that cocoa is a major foreign exchange to Nigeria.
The octogenarian asked the state governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, to allow the farmers to be paying their dues as before.
The Olu of Ofosu, Henry Olumakaye, who later appealed to the farmers to be calm, however, promised that the palace was planning to hold a meeting with the state government on Tuesday.
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