Femi Makinde, Osogbo
Indigenes of Abere community in Ede North Local Government Area of Osun State staged a protest against the demolition of some buildings in the area by the Ministry of Environment and Sanitation.
The protesters, who barricaded the road and made bonfires on the road connecting Osogbo to Gbongan, stopped the ministry officials from carrying on with the exercise.
One of the buildings had already been destroyed before the indigenes trooped out and stopped the government officials from continuing with the demolition.
Some women and children were among the protesters, who accused the state government of seeking to annex the portion of the land to Osogbo, the state capital.
The protesters defied the presence of armed police officers and other security agents deployed in the area and continued with their protest.
Our correspondent observed that although an armour personnel carrier and other police vans were at the scene, the police were civil in their approach and refused to be provoked despite provocation and threat of attack from some of the protesting youths.
A member of the Osun State House of Assembly, representing Ede North Constituency, Mr. Debo Kamardeen, said he was woken up by calls from some members of the community, who informed him that government officials had started pulling down structures in the community which is located directly opposite the Osun State Government Secretariat.
Kamardeen said, “A week ago, officials of the Ministry of Environment and Sanitation came here with the intention of demolishing some buildings here (Abere). We discussed with them and they said it was a directive from the government.
“The ministry told us that the government wanted to use the place for a filing station. Then we started wondering why it is this place that is littered with fish ponds that should be used for that purpose when there are other better places.
“I sent a mail to the governor, (Rauf Aregbesola) which he replied to. The governor said he had asked the Ministry of Environment and Sanitation to stop the planned demolition but to my surprise, around 6.30 am (Monday) I was woken up by a call that there was a bulldozer destroying some buildings and the people of the community were resisting it by taking to the streets.”
The chairman of Abere Community, Mr. Eniola Kasali, threatened that the community would not hesitate to go to war if those he said were behind the move did not stop the plan to cede part of their land to Osogbo.
However, the General Manager of Osun Capital Territory Development Authority, Hassan Moruf, said the land under dispute was acquired by the government of the defunct Western Region long time ago and the owners were paid compensation.
The Assistant Inspector of Police Zone 11, Mr. Paul Okafor, who visited the scene, appealed to the protesters to allow their leaders to negotiate with the state government on the issue in order to arrive at an amicable resolution of the crisis.
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