At least 1000 farmers gathered in Ekiti State on Monday to protest against the unpaid compensation for their farms acquired by the state government.
The farmers, who came from five communities in the state, demanded compensation for their land that is being used for the ongoing construction of the agro-allied cargo airport, along Ado-Ijan road.
The farmers, mostly the aged and widows, pleaded with the state governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, to consider their plights and the investment on their farm lands and pay them compensation as promised.
The farmers were harmed with placards with different inscriptions such as; “Ekiti Assembly please come to our aide,” “Governor Fayemi should pay our money without delay,” “The farmers cry for help”; “We need commission for our land acquired by government” among others.
They threatened to stop work at the airport site by invoking ancestral power if the government failed to pay their compensation within the next seven days.
Mr Osho Olorunfemi, who spoke on behalf of the farmers, asserted that the over 1,000 farmers from the five affected communities Ijan, igbogun, Aso, Igbemo, and Orun Bolorunduro communities whose land were acquired for the airport had lost huge amount of money in investment on the crops.
He urged the governor to urgently address their grievances and pay them the compensation. Noting that failure of the government to effect the payment within the next seven days, would leave the farmers with no other option than to storm the site and invoke spiritual power on the land.
”It is government that said people should embrace farming but here we are now, after so much investment on cocoa, plantain, cassava, palm tree and other crops, government came to destroy them.
“Since March this year, 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 some persons have been paid but not all of us.
“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.”
However, the coordinator of the airport project, Mr Bunmi Awotikun who assured the farmers that government was attending to their demands and that they would soon be paid, urged the affected farmers to embrace peace.