On Monday, Muslims in Ekiti State protested against the seizure of land they claim belongs to them located on the grounds of the Ola-Oluwa Muslim Grammar School along Ilawe Road in Ado-Ekiti, according to media reports.
The protesters claimed that Governor Ayodele Fayose did not contact them prior to seizing land they had acquired more than 50 years ago.
The protesters were peaceful, and successfully dislodged the various government officials sent by the Ministry of Works to map out land earmarked for proposed housing units and a hotel.
Speaking to Punch Newspaper, Azeez Ibiyemi expressed disappointment with the State government’s actions, noting that their failure to consult with the Muslim community prior to engaging in the project was “very embarrassing”.
He claimed that the Muslim community had a legal claim to the lands earmarked for construction.
“We have the Certificate of Occupancy with us and the survey plan. This land belongs to all the Muslims in Ekiti and what we want built on it is our international mosque, International Youth Centre, a hospital, and a tertiary institution. This is why we decided not to collect compensation when the schools were taken over by the government, so that we can make use of the remaining land,” Mr. Ibiyemi explained.
However, the Commissioner for Information Mr. Lanre Ogunsuyi, argued that under the Land Use Act all land within the State belonged to the State government.
Nonetheless, Mr. Ogunsuyi did agree to meet with the Muslim community in order to end the crisis.
“It was wrong for individuals to say a particular land belongs to them. But the Muslim community is very important to us. We will dialogue with them and settle this matter amicably,” the Commissioner for Information said.
The leaders of the the National Council of Muslim Youth, Jamiu Ola-anabi and Imam Kasaliyu Buhari both called upon the government to “see reason” and abandon the development of the land in order to maintain peace.