Kwara community protest alleged planned acquisition of land

ALLEGING highhandedness, the people of Malete district in Moro Local Council Area of Kwara State yesterday staged a peaceful protest to the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu Gambari, over the alleged planned revocation of their land by the state government through its agency, Bureau of Land.

The placards-carrying protesters numbering over 100 yesterday stormed the palace of Gambari, pledging their loyalty to his leadership and that of Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, but warned that if the Bureau did not shelve its alleged plan, they may have to resist the move.

According to the spokesman of the protesters, Toyin-Bello Alawaye, the proposed acquisition of the land measuring over 200,000 hectares would lead to the displacement of people of 13 villages in the district and deprive the villagers of the opportunity to farm.

Malete is the host community to the newly established Kwara State University. Alawaye said the people of the district had on two occasions “suffered the loss” of their lands to the state government.

According to him, the state government had allegedly taken over 500,000 hectares of their land for the establishment of both the state’s university and the state’s owned Youth Farm Settlement.

He added: “We have no other source of income than the farmland which has been bestowed on us by our forefathers and which your Royal Highness has equally blessed for us as our life saviour. It is to be noted that we had in the recent past released a large parcel of land for the establishment of the new KWASU as well as the state Mechanised Agricultural Institute, of which no compensation was paid by the state government and we conceded because of the developmental reasons given to us.

“Sir, if the proposed acquisition from Elemere, spanning to the left covering villages like Okonu, Olokonla, Galli, Bube, Okete Tuntun, Abeegba, Aladie, Ile Oke, Igbo, Ajia up to Gaa Malete and parts of Malete town are allowed, then many villagers would be displaced and rendered homeless, above all their economic lives would be paralysed.”