Centre for Democracy and Socio –Economic Rights, (CEDHER) a civic rights group with aegis has called on the Governor of Ekiti State, Abiodun Oyebanji and the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Babab, to investigate the ongoing grabbing of land in Itapaji-Ekiti Community in Ajoni Local Government area of Ekiti State. Where they have bulldozed several acres of land without permission and consent of the owners or leaders of the community, hence the outcry.
The group is of the opinion that the state governor is not aware of the activities of the invaders and if nothing is done, 10,000 and more people will likely lose their homes and ancestral homes as the case may be.
The people however believe that the governor will take up the fight and stop the destruction going on at Itapaji-Ekiti. The group stated that it has written to Femi Falana (SAN), a Nigeria’s prominent human rights lawyer, along with other regional human rights bodies to initiate a concerted effort to stop the activities of the unknown land grabbers.
According to the community leaders, they demanded that the encroachment on their land started a couple years back but was halted after the community intervened. But this year, the invaders came back and continued with the bulldozing of the land with high powered equipment that felled trees, valuable trees and destroyed sacred spiritual sites, farms along with animal heritage.
“The cost of the destruction on the land as at Wednesday this week runs into over 100 million of naira not to talk of the priceless sacred and spiritual temples that the invaders have callously and irresponsibly destroyed,” the group said
“The community woke up to the noise of bulldozers and caterpillars. The invaders had no discussion with anyone. The agricultural crops, spiritual worship places of the indigenous communities, their plants and lurch green forest, their health-giving plants were mauled down in a few hours by an unknown group of land-grabbers who claim to be acting on orders from above. The invaders target over 100 hectares of land which is almost half of the entire landmass of the community.
The community is ready to lay down their lives to fight for their heritage if needs be according to the group. So the intervention of the police and Government should be timely to avoid bloodshed.