About 15 Ijesha communities in Osun State today stormed the premises of the state High Court in Ilesa, protesting against what they called illegal acquisition of their land by the state governor, Mr Rauf Aregbesola.
The Point Newspapers reports that the protesters from Oriade and Obokun Local Governments of the state accused Aregbesola of using the state apparatus to forcefully seize their land measuring over 450 hectares for private use.
The protesters denounced the state governor’s action while also displaying placards with different inscriptions, some of which read, “Aregbesola, this is oppression”, “Aregbesola, free our land”, “You took our land unlawfully for your friend” and so on.
Speaking to journalists during the protest, Chief (Mrs) Elizabeth Adeniyi, Prince J.A Adewunmi and Mr. Iyiola Olanipekun explained that they had earlier been approached by “a bosom friend of Aregbesola known as Bashorun Rotimi Obesun who said he wanted to use the land to cultivate rice”.
“We refused Obesun 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 an 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 Obesun 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”, Chief Adeniyi stated.
Adewunmi disclosed that in the process of forcefully acquiring our land, several farm crops were destroyed while means of livelihoods of many family members were shattered and many of them are still being traumatised.