Farmers drag Ondo to court over sale of farmland

Some farmers in Ondo State have approached the state High Court, sitting in Ondo town in the state to challenge the sale of their farmlands at Oluwa Forest Reserve in Odigbo Local Government Area of the state, by the state government.

According to the concerned farmers under the auspices of Oluwa Forest Reserve Farmers, the land measuring 2000.482 hectares, was sold to a foreign company while the Certificate of Occupancy had been issued to the buyer, rendering thousands of the concerned farmers jobless.

In the suit filed by their counsel, Mr Tope Temokun, on Tuesday, the court was asked to declare the action of the government in selling the land, illegal.

The defendants in the suit are, 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 Ondo State Agricbusiness and Empowerment Centre, Mr Akin Olotu and ACME Palm Limited.

The claimants – Irewole Muse , Kenneth Osaai , Salami Rafiu, Felix Ayeleso, Adegboyega Sunday, Jimoh Yekini and Ojuade Funminiyi, behalf of themselves and others concerned farmers, also sought an order of the court to nullify the C of O issued to the sixth defendant.

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They demanded the “consequential order of this Honourable Court, setting aside and nullifying the Certificate of occupancy purportedly issued to the 6th 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 and a declaration that the claimants’ rights of possession over the farmlands granted and/or rented out to them by the first defendant covering the camps of Ijoba, Sete II, Ipade, Ayeleso, Isero, Temidire and Adeleye Itamerin and their sub-camps, within Oluwa Forest Reserve (OA3A), Odigbo LGA of Ondo State and covering the land measuring 2000.482 hectares of the Government forest reserve land within Oluwa Forest Reserve (OA3A), Odigbo Local Government Area of Ondo State covered by the Certificate of Occupancy dated 23rd of July 2021 and registered as No.59 at page 59 in Volume 767 of the Lands Registry of Ondo State, still subsists, subject only to the lawful determination of the claimants’ rights of possession and/or lawful exercise of the powers vested on the first defendant exercisable in accordance with the Forestry Laws of Ondo State and other relevant laws.”

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According to the suit, the claimants also sought “an order of perpetual injunction restraining the sixth defendant and its privies or agents, from further exercising any ownership or possessory rights over the land measuring 2000.482 hectares of the Government forest reserve land in Ondo State pursuant to the Certificate of Occupancy dated 23rd of July 2021 and registered as No.59 at page 59 in Volume 767 of the Lands Registry of Ondo State.

“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the sixth defendant and its privies or agents, from forcefully evicting the claimants or grading the claimants’ crops or uprooting the claimants’ crops or doing anything adverse to the claimants’ right of possession over the land granted and/or rented out to the claimants by the first defendant covering the camps of Ijoba, Sete II, Ipade, Ayeleso, Isero, Temidire and Adeleye Itamerin and their sub-camps, within Oluwa Forest Reserve (OA3A), Odigbo Local Government Area of Ondo State and covering the land measuring 2000.482 hectares of the Government Forest Reserve land within Oluwa Forest Reserve (OA3A), Odigbo Local Government Area of Ondo State covered by the Certificate of Occupancy dated 23rd of July 2021 and registered as No.59 at page 59 in Volume 767 of the Lands Registry of Ondo State.”

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The claimant’s lawyer said the farmers had written several letters to the state government to intervene in the matter but no response from the latter, hence the decision to approach the court.

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