The owners of the land acquired by the Ekiti State Government to build an airport have sued the state and demanded N650 million as damages.
The plantation farmers dragged the state government and Governor Ayo Fayose to court for what they described as “unlawful and forcible acquisition” of their land.
In a suit number HAD/71/2015 filed before an Ado Ekiti High Court , the claimants – Faluyi Ayeni, Tunde Ademiluyi, Faturoti Simeon, Awe Ojo, Oladimeji Ojo, Oloniyi Agbadaola, Moses Ojo, Fabiyi Oso, and Julius Oso, – sued for themselves and on behalf of farmers and land owners of four communities affected by the proposed airport project.
The communities affected are Igbogun farm settlement, Igbemo farm settlement, Iwajo farm settlement and Aso Ayegunle spanning three local government areas of the state.
Joined in the suit are the Commissioner for Works and Transportation; Commissioner for Lands and Housing; and the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice.
The aggrieved farmers claimed that the agents of the 1st defendant, Mr. Fayose, forcibly entered their land on October 2 without any prior notice and on subsequent occasions to clear and remove economic trees, crops and buildings.
They said the action was illegal and was a violation of their fundamental human rights and provisions of the Land Use Act 1978.
Among the reliefs sought is an order for the payment of the N650 million.
They also asked the court for an order of injunction “restraining the defendants from further removing, harvesting, cropping, clearing or otherwise damaging their economic crops, buildings and chattels.”
The plaintiffs also asked the court for an order of injunction “restraining the defendants, their agents, servants, assigns, labourers, workmen or whosoever from forcibly entering, trespassing, coercing, intimidating, harassing, threatening or in any manner whatsoever from gaining access to their farms and landed properties acting under the revocation captioned ‘Land Use Act 1978, Land required for the service of the Government of Ekiti State of Nigeria dated 18th day of September.”
They are also asking the Court to declare that the revocation of the Right of Occupancy to their respective parcels of land vide the Notice of Revocation captioned “Land Use Act 1978, Land required for the service of the Government of Ekiti State of Nigeria” is unconstitutional.
The plaintiffs want the court to determine whether by the combined effect of Section 28 (6) of the Land Use Act 1978 and Sections 43 and 44 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the document titled “Land Use Act 1978, Land required for the service of the Government of Ekiti State of Nigeria” dated September18, 2015 issued by Mr. Fayose is valid in law to revoke their Right of Occupancy.
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.