The Ekiti State Government, has again outlined the various benefits in the proposed Agricultural Processing Zone urging the affecting communities to key into projects.
The government also appealed to warring communities and owners of 55,000 hectatres of lands acquired for the project to eschew violence
The government made the appeal , on Tuesday, while interfacing with angry land owners from Iyemero, Esun, Odo- Oro, Itapaji, Ipao, Oke Ayedun, and Oke Ako Ekiti, who are owners of the sprawling parcel of lands acquired by government .
The communities were led into the meeting by the Olu of Itapaji, Oba AbduKareem Adebanjo, Alaaye of Oke Ayedun, Oba Olufemi Aribisala, Onise of Odo- Oro, Oba Babatunde Jemilehin, and Elesun of Esun, Oba Babatunde Ogunsakin.
Others were the regent of Oke Ako Ekiti, Her Royal Highness Tinuade Adebayo, and the Chairman of Ajoni Local Council Development Area, Hon. Michael Ogungbemi.
The Deputy Governor, represented by the Permanent Secretary in her office, Mr. Abayomi Opeyemi, said the host communities in Ekiti North Senatorial district will enjoy speedy economic development, if they allow the policy to thrive.
Mrs Afuye, in a statement by her Media Aide, Victor Ogunje, said the Ekiti State Technical Committee on Land Matters will visit the expansive land for boundary tracing, so that each of the six towns would know their boundaries and what were contained on them.
She said; “When this programme fully begins, it is the host communities that will benefit most in terms of employment and business development. This will also help in curtailing the incidences of kidnappings that were rampant in that axis.
“Let us allow peace to reign by allowing the boundary commission to do the demarcation, so that there will be peace. What we are trying to do is to increase food production and create wealth and jobs for our people through commercial farming .
” I want to assure you that this government will not illegally deprive any community the rights to ownership of their lands. When government acquired lands, it is for public interest.
“I appeal to you, let us be patient with government. With this engagement , we have known that a lot of issues needed to be handled properly and that we are going to do before the full commencement of the programme”.
In their responses, the monarchs, appealed to government to adhere strictly to processes guiding acquisition of lands and as well stop indiscriminate land clearing in the area before embarking on demarcation of boundaries among towns.
They lamented that the engagement done for the acquisition of over 5,000 hectares of lands by government for Agbeyewa Agribusiness Firm from the area under contention were shoddily done and that such should be corrected to foster peace.
“We are not against government acquiring lands for farming. We know the importance and benefit to local economy, but it has to be properly done. Community engagement, issuance of notice to farmers and payment of compensations to those whose crops will be destroyed are very important in this issue.
“Government should also look at the famine such action could cause and the environmental and atmospheric implications it will have on these towns because of aggressive tree felling that will be carried out by investors that will move into our lands”.
The Chairman of Ajoni Local Council Development Area, Hon. Michael Ogungbemi, urged the monarchs to ensure that nobody takes laws into his hands over the matter in their domains pending the resolution of the disagreement trailing the land matter.