Residents of Obasanjo Estate and Fayose Estate along Ado-Ikere road, Ekiti state, have lamented the destruction of their farmlands by some people believed to be agents of the state government.
Food crops, said to be nearing harvest, journalists gathered, were said to have been destroyed by officials of the Ekiti State Housing Corporation who stormed the farmlands located on the undeveloped part of the estates last Friday and .
The affected residents, who expressed their displeasure at the development, said the corporation officials who claimed to be sent by state governor Ayo Fayose carryout the destruction “without any prior notice”.
The General Manager, Mr. Babasoji Awe, while reacting to the development said the land in question was reserved for estate development and not meant for farming, adding that the affected farmers did not have the permission of the agency to use the land for such purpose.
He said the exercise was done in the overall public interest and was not carried out with malice or to witch-hunt residents.
Maintaining that the action had no political undertone Awe added: “They didn’t get our permission before commencing farming on the land. We have to open up the roads to give access to other land owners so that they can have access to their plots”.
A residents who does not want his name in the print claimed that some people from the corporation including a surveyor supervised destruction of their crops which included yam, cassava, maize and vegetables.
He said Awe, who was at the site on Saturday morning, informed them that he acted in line with governor’s instruction.
It was however gathered that some mobile policemen residing at the estate who were equally affected by the destruction had started gearing for a showdown with the state government.
A resident said: “We were shocked by the government’s action to destroy our farms because the owners of the land gave us go-ahead to do farming on the land so that the land can be secured for them before they develop the land.
“This is the same government that said we should go back to land at a period our salaries are not regular. At least five of us were affected at Obasanjo Estate while about 20 mobile policemen at Fayose Estate were affected.
“The Landlords Association was not carried along and there was no prior notice before our farms were bulldozed. We are sad about this development and the loss is very huge.”
“We have a master plan of the estate which should not be alerted; the estate is for housing extension, is not meant for farming. The action has no political undertone, there is no sentiment or malice in what we have done,” the resident said