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November 03, 2011

Nigeria: community pushes for reversal of land lease to 'mismanaging' investors

by Seye Adeniyi

The Apoje community in Ijebu-Igbo,Ogun State, has appealed to the state government to reverse the 30-year concession of its farm settlement to private investors by the immediate past administration.

The community, at its emergency meeting in Ijebu-Igbo, resolved that the 30-year concession of the farm settlement was not in the best interest of the farmers and the community.

The chairman of the community, Mr Tajudeen Salawu, explained that the concession of the Apoje farm settlement of about 8,000 hectares, to private investors, would subject the community to poverty and hardship.

Salawu explained that the community wanted experts, who are indigenes, to manage the farm settlement for the benefit of the community and the entire state.

He explained that the farm settlement, which was once the pride of the community and the state in terms of its agricultural productivity, was now in a moribund state due to mismanagement by the investors.

“We remember the promise of Governor Ibikunle Amosun,on the concession of state properties by the former administration to make sure that all these properties are returned; Apoje farm settlement is among.

“The Ijebu-Igbo community has credible sons and daughters who are financially credible with agronomy experience to reactivate Apoje farm settlement.

“We are appealing to the government to allow our indigenous people to handle the management of the farm for the development of the community and the state as a whole,'' Salawu said.

Also speaking, Dr Olu Odeniyi, a prominent member of the community, said that the 30-year concession of the farm settlement would subject the farmers working on the farm and the entire community to slavery on their own land.

Odeniyi, while urging the state government to allow an agricultural expert from the town to manage the farm, said this would provide employment for jobless youths in the community.

In his words,``we appeal to government to help us out. We don’t want this concession arrangement; but rather, we want our sons and daughters to utilize the settlement for our benefit.

“If this happens, there would be creation for and farmers and micro businesses would spring up,`` he added.

The Tribune

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