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Court Restrains Ondo Government From Forcefully Evicting Idanre Forest Reserve Farmers

July 25, 2022

They said the action of the Governor Rotimi Akeredolu-led government is already generating unrest in Idanre and its environs.

An Ondo State High Court sitting in Idanre, on Monday, granted an order restraining the state government, “its agents or whoever” from a forceful eviction of Idanre Forest Reserve Farmers pending the hearing and determination of motion notice before the court.
Justice S. Olorundahunsi gave the order, sequel to a motion ex parte of over 10,000 farmers in the Ofosu Axis of Idanre Forest Reserve (OA5), who are the applicants in Suit No: HID/14/2022, filed before the court through their lawyer, Tope Temokun, seeking the court protection of their investments.

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The farmers told the court that they had farmed in the said land for over 20 years, cultivating permanent crops like cocoa and others.
They noted that they had been at loggerheads with the Ondo State government for some time now over the sale of their farmland of cocoa plantations to "SAO GROUPS," a private consortium owned by Ayo Sotinri, after they paid rent for the use of the land for over four years now and thereby enjoy a right to lawful occupation of the land.
They told the court that on Sunday, July 17, the government drove bulldozers into the farmlands preparatory to grading, uprooting and destroying their permanent crops, their life investment of decades, to forcefully eject them from the land and that there had been peaceful protest.
They said the action of the Governor Rotimi Akeredolu-led government is already generating unrest in Idanre and its environs.
Through their Counsel, the applicant's prayed the court for the following orders;
"An Order of Interim Injunction restraining the Defendants/ Respondents, their privies, servants and/or agents from forcefully ejecting or evicting the claimants/ applicants from the land subject-matter of this suit, their farmlands at Idanre Forest Reserve (OA5), Ofosu Onisere Axis, Idanre Local Government Area of Ondo State or from taking over or grading the claimants/ applicants’ farmlands, subject-matter of this suit, occupied by the Claimants/ Applicants as cocoa farmers, containing their grown cocoa plantations, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction."
Those sued as Respondents; are Capital Management Limited, Ondo State Government, Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice Ondo State, Ministry of Agriculture Ondo State, Honourable Commissioner For Ministry of Agriculture Ondo State, Mr. Akin Olotu (Chairman Ondo State Agribusiness Empowerment Centre & Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Ondo State on Agriculture And Agric-Business), State Board Of Internal Revenue, Mr. Tolu Adegbie (Executive Chairman Ondo State Internal Revenue Service), Ondo State Security Network Agency(operating under the code-name “Amotekun Corps").
Justice Olorundahunsi after listening to the applicant's argument and supporting affidavit, granted the prayer of the farmers restraining defendants.
Those restrained by the order included, “the Ondo State government and its agencies, including its security network, Amotekun, from forcefully ejecting or evicting the claimants/applicants from the land subject-matter of this suit, their farmlands at Idanre Forest Reserve (OA5), Ofosu Onisere Axis, Idanre Local Government Area of Ondo State or from taking over or grading the claimants/ applicants’ farmlands, subject matter of this suit, occupied by the Claimants/Applicants as cocoa farmers, containing their grown cocoa plantations, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction."
The court adjourned the case to August 3, 2022.

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