On Monday, no fewer than one thousand farmers across five communities in Ekiti staged a protest against the non-payment of compensation for their farmlands acquired by the Governor Kayode Fayemi government.
The Ekiti government acquired their farmlands for the ongoing construction of the agro-allied cargo airport.
The farmers, who carried placards of various inscriptions, pleaded with Mr Fayemi to pay their compensation as promised.
They are mostly aged and widows from Igbogun, Aso, Igbemo, Ijan and Orun Bolorunduro communities located on Ado-Ijan Road, in the Ado local government area of the state where the airport is located.
Oso Olorunfemi, who spoke on behalf of the aggrieved farmers, said the farmers from the five affected communities had lost a huge amount of money invested in their farms.
Mr Olorunfemi called on the governor to urgently address their grievances and pay them the compensation.
He added that the farmers would be left with no other option but to storm the site and invoke spiritual power on the land, which he said could be disastrous if the state government refused to pay them within the next seven days.
“It is the state government that said people should embrace farming, but here we are now after so much investment on cocoa, plantain, cassava, palm trees and other cash crops, the state government came and destroyed them,” the spokesperson explained. “Since March, we have been on this issue, but nothing is forthcoming. All we hear is promises and assurances. We are tired of promises.”
According to him, the farmers need money to “start life again” because “we are completely down at the moment.”
“We are aware some people have been paid, but not all of us,” added Mr Olorunfemi.
Addressing the protesters, Bunmi Awotiku, the coordinator of the airport project, advised the protesting farmers to embrace peace, assuring them that the government was attending to their demands, adding that they would soon be paid.
Ms Awotiku about N500 million had been paid to some farmers across the communities concerning the lands acquired for the airport project.