The Media for Ethnic Equality (MEE), a leading advocacy group in Nigeria, has condemned the reckless land-grabbing activities going on in Itapaji Ekiti, a community in Ikole Local Government Area of Ekiti State, and called on Ekiti State Governor Biodun Oyebanji, to urgently step into the matter to forestall looming confrontation.
Rampaging youth in the community has been protesting the unbridled usurpation of their land by people claiming to have been acting on the order of the state government in recent time, noting that a stop action is now needed to tame the lingering intrusions.
The community youth heads, Awe Adesina and Aina Olawale, have led a mammoth crowd of protesters round town and climaxed the protest at the traditional head’s palace, demanding why the random encroachments into the community land without recourse to their future and that of coming generation.
The youth have taken on the community traditional council, demanding urgent explanation on why they would not resolve to take their destinies in their own hands if the array of land usurpation from sundry angles are unchecked.
The incessant protests had snowballed into the site of the Agbeloba group, where it was discovered by the youth that cash crops, shrines and age-long monuments have been leveled by the intruders’ bulldozers.
But acting on instructions of the leaders, the youth toe the peaceful path of dialogue and ordered that work should stop forthwith on the land or the wrath of the people would be incurred.
MEE, in its statement signed by the Executive Director, Comrade Gboyega Adeoye, bemoans the activities of the ‘Agbeloba’, over the encroachment on Itapaji land with no recourse to the indigenous people.
Adeoye noted that the Agbeloba group had earlier baited the people with some gifts of rice, chicken, medications and even offered free optical services, at the sundown of 2022, while they cajoled the unsuspecting dwellers into believing those items were being offered as Christmas presents.
“The villagers were cowed into accepting the gift items while some of them were made to offer praises to the group for the ‘humanitarian’ gesture on camera, in a decoy to claim consent to an orchestrated clandestine motive they had mapped out.
“These indigenes were unaware that Agbeloba had begun encroachment into the villagers’ land and had already covered hundreds of hectares, until their nefarious activities got near town and attracted dwellers.
“We at MEE, view this as a serious crime, direct assault on the collective psyche of the hapless people of Itapaji Ekiti, who said the Agbeloba group is claiming that they are acting on the permission of government.
“We are well aware that no person or group has the right to so invade on a community property without due recourse to the people. This is an action taken too far and we are calling on the government of Ekiti State and the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, to urgently swing into action with a view to quell a brewing confrontation.