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Farmers fear takeover of Akufo Farm Settlement, call on Governor Seyi Makinde’s intervention
 
By: News Editor
Wed, 27 Mar 2024   ||   Nigeria,
 

Farmers association of Akufo Farm Settlement in Ido Local Government area of Oyo State have called on Oyo State Governor His excellency Engr Oluseyi Makinde’s intervention over the alleged take-over of the settlement by estate agents and developers.

The calls were made on Wednesday during a peaceful protest by the Akufo Farm Settlement Farmers Association, at the Oyo State Agribusiness Development Agency (OYSADA), Agodi, Ibadan, after several attempts to reach the government without a response. The placards read, “SAVE AKUFO FARM SETTLEMENT” “HOUSING ESTATE CANNOT FEED THE NATION” “SAY NO TO HOUSING ESTATE, YES TO AGRICULTURE.”

Speaking to CEOAFRICA, the President of the Association, Mr. Akinsola Oludare, explained how they had written a letter to OYSADA which is their supervising agency for a meeting, but their letters were met with silence, driving them to visit the agency again with a protest. According to him, “we saw some people who came and said they came to make the place a housing estate. All we are saying is that this period of food insecurity is not when the government will make the lands available for developers. There are several other lands that can be used for development. There are housing estates that are only bearing names with nothing being done on them.”

“We expect that what the government should do now is to make food available. Unfortunately, what we heard is that about 40 hectares have been earmarked for housing estate,” he said. When asked, the farmers assured their certainty that the earmarked sites are for housing estates, not farm estate.

Immediate President of the Association, Mr. Johnson Alapelode said since part of the Renewed Hope Agenda of the current president is food production, it is ironic to snatch their lands to build houses. He continued that, “Maize is expensive, soya is expensive, wheat is expensive. And the government is not even planning on how to give us necessary farming input such as tractors. The most painful part of it is that no matter what, you need to dialogue with us.”

While the Chairman, Cattle Farmers Association of the settlement, Mr. Fabayo Rasaki, lamented that they were suddenly stopped from paying rents for the land without prior notice and official communication; another protester and farmer, Mrs Sehinde traced that it was Chief Obafemi Awolowo who initiated the site as a farm settlement, crying that, “we have not received any help from the government we voted for. We have seen other housing estates that are only inhabited by goats. This is not the time to build houses on farm settlements. The government should help us and not suffer us.”

In her words, Mrs Oluwafunmilayo Josephine Oyelami, told CEOAFRICA reporters that “I own 25 acres out of the affected lands where we have palm trees for producing palm oil, until these people came that the lands have been seized for housing estates. People are crying and weeping since the land seizure. What we want is the government to release the farm for us and help our farming business.”

When asked the economic importance of the farm settlement to Oyo State, one of the farmers said that the farm settlement produces over 20 thousand crates of eggs daily, palm oil, different birds such as layers and broilers for livestock production. Professor Ola-Davies also added that, “if there is anything acceptable now in the country, it is food security. So many people are hungry now. Akufo farm settlement has been a major contributor in agriculture. To turn that kind of place to a farm settlement as we are hearing is unacceptable. What happens to the food production from that place? What happens to the people working there? If food security will work, that farm has to continue, as a matter of fact, the government has to come in to encourage the settlers so that there will be increase in productivity.”

When contacted, the Special Adviser to the Governor of Oyo State on Agribusiness, Mr. Olasunkanmi Adebowale Akande who said he was outside of the country, told CEOAFRICA that OYSADA does not do housing estates and the government have not announced turning the farm settlement into housing estates.

Akande added that, “I think focus should rather be on why houses are being built illegally currently on the land and the volume of agricultural activities going on there.”

 

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