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Aregbesola Communities protest against Osun Gov over 'illegal' land acquisition

The governor was accused of using official powers to seize land to convert for private use.

  • Published:
Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola play

Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola

(Pulse)

Protesters from about 15 Ijesa communities marched to the Osun state High Court in Ilesa on Wednesday to register their displeasure with Governor Rauf Aregbesola's unlawful acquisition of land in their communities.

The governor was accused of using official powers to seize land to convert for private use.

The land, measuring about 450 hectares, was allegedly acquired for the governor's close friend Bashorun Rotimi Obeisun to 'cultivate rice'.

Speaking at the protest, Chief Elizabeth Adeniyi said, "We refused Obeisun the purchase offer for two reasons. One, the land is our farmland where over a thousand people are making their living and secondly, we have ancestral attachment to the land. We have cocoa, kola-nuts, palm trees and many other things on our land.”

“Suddenly, we discovered the presence of the state officials and some of the family members of Obeisun on the land. At a point, we were all chased out of our land by gunmen and on May 17, it was published in a national newspaper that our land had been acquired by the state government."

Also at the protest was Prince J.A Adewunmi who claimed lots of farm crops were destroyed when the forceful acquisition of the land was going on. He said this had impacted the source of income of the people working the land and demanded justice.

Some of the communities involved in the land trouble include, Ijiku, Osogun, Baajimo, Okunye, Walaye, Arowobusoye and Fanawopo, with the disputed land situated along Ijagbere/Ijebu-Jesa road shared by Obokun and Oriade local governments.

The protesters marched on the court carrying placards that read, "Aregbesola, this is oppression", "Aregbesola, free our land", "You take our land unlawfully for your friend", and a host of others.

The affected communities, with the help of a human right lawyer, Barrister Kanmi Ajibola, have slammed a N50 billion lawsuit against the governor, asking for restitution of the damage caused.

In the statement of claim, Barrister Ajibola said the governor "cannot acquire land on the pretext of public use and transfer same land to a private individual for private use."

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