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OYHA summons Surveyor General, others over alleged acquisition of land, buildings

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By Ojo Peter, Ibadan 

The Oyo State House of Assembly has summoned the Surveyor General and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Lands and Urban Development in the State to appear before it.

This is as the House set up an adhoc committee to investigate an alleged move by the State government to acquire lands and buildings of inhabitants of Olorisa-Oko, Ajibade, Alabata, Agbedo, Alase in Akinyele Local Government Area of the State.

The decision was reached after the consideration of a motion by the member representing Akinyele 2 constituency, Taofeek Kehinde on the alleged move by the State government.

Presenting the case of his constituents during plenary, he warned that the State government could be at the risk of causing confusion in the affected communities if it implemented public policy without dialoguing with the supposed beneficiaries of the development.

Kehinde pointed to the growing tension in the affected communities because of the suspicion that the government allegedly planned to acquire their lands without due process.

He particularly observed that with inhabitants of the affected villages being predominantly farmers, they were displeased that their means of livelihood is about to be taken away, “through the back door.”

He said the villagers were alarmed when they saw strangers parading themselves as government officials going about with various land measuring instruments in their areas.

He said, “The inhabitants of the mentioned villages are predominantly farmers who have no other means of livelihood other than farm practices. This justifies the cry from the people about the suspicious move by government to acquire their means of livelihood without prior notice.

“Acquisition or confiscation of property is usually through appropriate processes and procedures as provided by extant laws. Therefore, the government should communicate the people through right channels on the proposed mission, it will benefit the people and of course the State.”

Commenting on the motion, Adebayo Babajide, (Ibadan North II Constituency) highlighted the consequences of gap in information, urging the State government to always carry along the people and relevant stakeholders in its actions so as to prevent crisis.

Also speaking, Dele Adeola (Iseyin/Itesiwaju constituency) argued that the State government acquired the 2,000 hectares of land for development control purposes, bearing in mind that projects like dry port, railway, and circular road were coming to the area.

On his part, the Majority Leader, Sanjo Adedoyin argued that Governor Seyi Makinde was a listening man and would not take steps to hurt the people of Oyo State.

Adedoyin held that he was sure the intention of the government to have a business district in the Local Government Area must have been informed by the need to expand infrastructural facilities in preparation for projects like Dry port, Railway and Circular road in the area.

In his remarks, Tunde Isiaka (Oyo East/Oyo West constituency) called for calm, avowing belief that the state government will adhere to due process to take land as contained in the Land Use Act.

To investigate the issue, Speaker of Assembly, Honourable Adebo Ogundoyin, consequently, set up an adhoc committee headed by Honourable Bamidele Adeola to meet with relevant stakeholders with a view to ensuring that the state government adheres to due process.

He also ruled that the Permanent Secretary of the concerned Ministry and Surveyor General appear before the lawmakers to explain the plan of the Oyo State Government.

The committee set up however was mandated to give a report two weeks after resumption from its yearly recess which began on Wednesday.

The adhoc committee is expected to summon the State’s Permanent Secretary on Lands and Housing; State Surveyor General; Director of Physical Planning; and Baales of the affected villages.

Also passed into law is the State’s Elderly Persons Protection Bill, 2021 as sponsored by Honourable Olawumi Oladeji of Ogbomoso North constituency.

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