Kwara 23 villages condemn Govt’s move to revoke their land


By Ahmed Ajikobi


Residents of 23 villages in Akanbi Ward 1 and 2 of Ilorin South Local Government area of Kwara State are troubled by the recent proposal from the Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq-led administration.

The proposal seeks to acquire or revoke their lands used for farming to make way for the development of Ilorin Smart City.

In Fufu, the headquarters of Ilorin South Local government, Chairman Azeez Omolala who spoke of the community, expressed the community’s concerns, stating that the government’s actions would bring about significant hardships for the residents.

“We received the notification letter on revocation/acquisition of our Land originally addressed to Daodu Fufu with great shock, and hereby wish to express our deepest concerns over this development.

“We want to first and foremost state categorically that the indigenous people of Akanbi 1&2 of Ilorin South Local Government are admirers of the good works of Your Excellence, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq since the inception of his administration in Kwara State.

“We remain unchanged to this principle that gave us the decision to vote for him overwhelmingly in the two elections that brought him to power.

“While thanking your administration for the transformational agenda you have in place for the people of Kwara, of which we have no doubt started to yield positive impacts.

“At the same time to express our special appeal to you on the revocation of our lands as contained in the notification letter dated March 1, 2024

“As indigenous people of Akanbi 1&2 in Ilorin South Local Government, Kwara State for centuries back we have made several sacrifices and efforts in joining successive administrations at local, state, and federal to bring meaningful developments to Akanbi 1 & 2, and Nigeria at large through self-communal efforts and immense contribution to socio-economic participatory of our nation.

“The establishment of schools, hospitals, post offices, and constant road grading are a few communities’ initiatives to mention as a way to better people’s lots.

“Akanbi 1&2 are highly industrious people, and our primary occupation, as the only rural community in Ilorin South LGA, is farming and food processing, which we see as a cardinal agenda of a responsible and responsive administration like yours.

“Our amiable governor, as your administration is aware, agriculture remains the number one area of the economy that is of public interest which responsible administrations like yours and at the federal level have been striving hard to promote and achieve.

“In the interest of the public and for your administration to achieve this important mission and goal, we think it is important to consider our plight as an agricultural community,” he said.

Omolala made a heartfelt appeal to the governor, highlighting that agriculture is the sole source of livelihood and occupation for the community members.

He emphasized their commitment to increasing food production for the state and the country as a whole if given the necessary support and infrastructure.

He urged the Governor to prioritize the rehabilitation of the dilapidated roads in the region, with a particular focus on the Idofian to Lajiki to Oke-Oyi road, which is the primary route to Ilorin South Headquarters.

Omolala expressed concern over the prolonged poor state of the road and implored the government to provide access to clean water for the farms and villages in the area.

” Another important area we would like our dynamic governor to look into is the non-inclusion of our people to participate in decision-making that brought about this idea of smart city.

“We understand that your administration has always been involved in using democratic and due process in doing things and we wonder why ours in this regard should be exceptional,” the chairman said.

He called on the government to suspend with immediate effect all plans to forcefully revoke/acquire their lands for private use under the disguise of the public using it for the public interest, which was suspiciously designed to eliminate them from their ancestral lands.

Omolala also advised the Governor to constitute a panel of inquiry to look into what led to the decision that completely left the community out in a matter that bothered their life.

According to him, the government’s decision not to carry them along on matters that affect their lives in the proposed Smart City project amounted to discrimination against them being custodians of the land in question for many centuries and a way to deprive them of the dividends of democracy.

“Government should examine all alternative ways that will avoid destruction and grabbing of all our communities’ ancestral lands, forests, and farmlands.

The government should carry out a thoroughly participatory and transparent review of the adverse ecological, socio-cultural, economic, financial, and reputational impacts of the proposed smart city before it precipitates into a man-made disaster for our communities and Kwara State.

“We appeal to the government to halt and reverse implementation that has to do with this policy, followed by extending an invitation letter to all stakeholders of the listed communities to schedule a meeting with them.

“This invitation should be made to cut across all community stakeholders such as traditional heads, community youths representatives, women representatives, community-based organizations within our communities, etc.

“Government should constitute a special committee to look into the matter raised by the Governor in the notification letter as regards the issue of public interest and this committee must include all the stakeholders from the government side, each of the communities involved, as well as all concerned organizations,” he added.

Omolala said the government should recognize and allow the rights of the indigenous people of the 23 villages as enacted in national and international laws be respected and preserved.

“Above all, we call our able and responsive governor in the interest of the public for general reconsideration as we have declared that the revocation/acquisition of our land would mean the sacking of our people from their professional known jobs (farming) which will lead to acute and perpetual hunger that will cause damage to the socio-economic of our nation,” he said.

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