Aggrieved landlords whose houses were demolished in the heart of Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, to pave way for development projects, on Thursday, protested against non-payment of their compensation.
The landlords at the Ijoka area of Ado Ekiti, while armed with placards with different inscriptions, said the demolition of no fewer than 100 houses without compensation had made life difficult for them.
They gave the state government a seven-day ultimatum to do the needful or face their wrath.
The large expanse of land, which was acquired in 2016 in overriding public interest during the administration of former Governor Ayo Fayose, is being used by the Dr Kayode Fayemi administration for the construction of a bus terminal.
A spokesman for the protesters, Mr Kehinde Adeosun, said, “The delay in payment of compensation has rendered many homeless and brought trauma to many property owners in that axis.
“The existence of Ijoka community dated back 1300. The community until its demolition in 2016 was the commercial nerve centre of Ado Ekiti, where traders are making millions of naira daily.
“We want to stress that all other communities and towns acquired after the demolition of our dear community have received compensation from the state government. An example is the land acquired for the construction of an airport within the state capital and other towns where their owners received compensation.
“The trauma of our members as a result of this neglect has caused a lot of havoc and psychological distress. We plead that the state government should pay us our entitlements.”
A community leader and former labour leader, 80-year-old Isa Bello, said the community had written letters to Governor Fayemi and the Deputy Governor, Chief Bisi Egbeyemi, and held several meetings with them, all to no avail.
Bello said, “We have written a series of letters, which were officially acknowledged, but they did nothing. We are all loyal All Progressives Congress members, so enough is enough. We voted for APC in 2018. The APC got the highest votes in Ado Ekiti here. Within seven days, if they don’t pay, we will take decisive actions.”
The youth leader of Ijoka, Olasehinde Omotoso, said it was unfortunate for the government to be spending billions to institute projects in the area, while failing to pay compensation.
Omotoso, who said Fayose compensated only 10 house owners who were Peoples Democratic Party members before he left, queried, “Why should I suffer when I am an APC member? The governor should give us our money within seven days. If they fail, we will take whatever actions we want to take.”
One of the engineers constructing the bus terminal, Kolawole Bankole, assured the house owners that their message would be related to the appropriate quarters.