Muslims in Ekiti State had on Monday taken to the streets in protest of the alleged seizure of their land located within the premises of Ola-Oluwa Muslims Grammar School on Ilawe road, Ado Ekiti. According to them, the state under Governor Ayodele Fayose‘s act of taking their lands without calling them for a meeting or informing them is an act of injustice.
Speaking to reporters in their peaceful protest, the Muslims noted that the piece of land forcefully taken from them by the governor was acquired over 50 years ago.
Alhaji Azeez Ibiyemi who spoke on behalf of the protesters, said that the land which was allegedly taken was meant to be used for the building of an international mosque, international Youth Centre, hospital and a tertiary institution for all Muslims and that they have a legal claim to the land.
“We have the Certificate of Occupancy with us and the survey plan. This land belongs to all the Muslims in Ekiti and what we wanted to build on it is our International mosque, international Youth Centre, hospital and a tertiary institution and that was why we decided not to collect compensation when the schools were taken over by government, so that we can make use of the remaining land.
“The Government had taken over a portion of AUD secondary school for the construction of Ministry of Works and the Pilot school in Ajilosun and no compensations were paid.
“The schools owned by Catholic, Anglican and Baptist churches have large expanse of lands, why must Muslims be targeted as victims of land seizure by government?” he asked.
Speaking further on this, the leaders of the National Council of Muslim Youth, Alhaji Jamiu Ola-anabi and Imam Kasaliyu Buhari, appealed to the government to abandon the development of the land for peace sake, saying, “we will go to court if the gentleman agreement we are seeking with government fails. Under no circumstance shall we allow government to take over this land the way they did in the past.” They therefore appealed to the state government to reason with them and leave the land for the interest of peace.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Information, Mr Lanre Ogunsuyi, said that the Muslims were wrong by referring to the 65 hectares as their’s. He stated further that every land in the state belonged to the government under the Land Use Act.
“It was wrong for individuals to say a particular land belongs to him. Government has the power to acquire any land, even if there is house on it. But the Muslim community is very important to us. We will dialogue with them and settle this matter amicably,” the commissioner said as he assured the Muslims that government would meet with the them to end the crisis.