Farmers Drag Ondo Govt To Court Over Illegal Sale Of Farmland

A  group of farmers in Ondo State, operating under the umbrella of the Oluwa Forest Reserve Farmers, has taken the state government to court over the alleged illegal sale of their farmlands. 

The disputed land, spanning 2000.482 hectares within the Oluwa Forest Reserve in Odigbo Local Government Area, was reportedly sold to a foreign company, leading to the issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy and the subsequent displacement of thousands of farmers.

The suit, filed at the Ondo State High Court in Ondo town, names the Ondo State Government, the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, the state Ministry of Agriculture, the state Commissioner for Agriculture, the former Chairman of the Ondo State Agribusiness and Empowerment Centre, Mr. Akin Olotu, and ACME Palm Limited as the first to sixth defendants, respectively. 

The claimants in the suit, represented by Mr. Tope Temokun, are Irewole Muse, Kenneth Osaai, Salami Rafiu, Felix Ayeleso, Adegboyega Sunday, Jimoh Yekini, and Ojuade Funminiyi, who are suing on behalf of themselves and other affected farmers.

The farmers assert that the sale of the land was illegal and are seeking several court orders, including the nullification of the Certificate of Occupancy issued to ACME Palm Limited. 

They demand “a consequential order of this Honourable Court, setting aside and nullifying the Certificate of Occupancy purportedly issued to the sixth defendant by the first defendant, dated 23rd of July 2021 and registered as No.59 at page 59 in Volume 767 of the Lands Registry of Ondo State.”

They seek a declaration that their rights of possession over the farmlands, which were granted or rented out to them by the state government, remain valid. 

The claimants argue that those  rights should only be terminated through lawful procedures as stipulated by the Forestry Laws of Ondo State and other relevant legislation.

 The specific areas in dispute include the camps of Ijoba, Sete II, Ipade, Ayeleso, Isero, Temidire, and Adeleye Itamerin, along with their sub-camps within the Oluwa Forest Reserve.

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