360 Villages, 5 Million People Affected by Oyo State Government Land Grabs: Take It Back Movement Fights Back, Holds Meeting with Affected Community People

The Take It Back Movement, a pro democracy organizations in Nigeria, held a mass meeting on Monday, April 8th with the victims of the Oyo State Government’s circular road project. The meeting brought to light the scale of the crisis, with 360 villages and over 5 million people affected.

Comrade Juwon Sanyaolu, the National Coordinator of the Take It Back Movement, led a delegation that included Comrade Ajayi Wizeman, Comrade Femi Adeyeye, Comrade Babayomi, and Omowunmi Ewatee. The delegates were there to show their support for the people affected by the circular road demolition and to learn more about their experiences.

The delegation began the meeting by highlighting the key issues at hand. They stressed that the government should always consider the needs of the people when carrying out any demolition project, and expressed their disappointment that this had not been done in this case. They asked the crowd if they had been given advance notice of the demolition, and the crowd replied with a resounding “no”.

To further understand the situation, the delegation asked the crowd to confirm what they had heard from community leaders. The crowd affirmed that what they had heard was true. The delegation then delved into the history of the circular road project, explaining that it had begun during the tenure of Governor Ladoja in 2003-2005. According to the community, an agreement was made to leave a 75 meter space on either side of the road, but this agreement had not been honored.

When former Governor Ajimobi took office, the issue of the circular road resurfaced, and he sought to uphold the original agreement. However, before any action could be taken, his term came to an end. Upon Governor Seyi Makinde’s assumption of office, it became clear that he would not honor the previous agreement. The community is now left to deal with the fallout of this decision.

When questioned by the delegation, the community representatives stated that Governor Makinde had never addressed them about the demolition, nor had he given them any advance notice. They said that the demolition was carried out without any consultation, and that military personnel accompanied government officials and equipment during the process.

The delegation assured the community that the movement would continue to fight for the 150m space to be maintained, and that a public invitation was sent out after the last meeting with the community elders to ensure that the governor’s representatives were present.

The delegation emphasized that their goal was not to create problems, but to defend the rights of the community. They acknowledged that the people had not been compensated for their losses, and they refused to back down from their demands. They called on the community to stand together and to be strong in the face of these challenges.

The delegation then suggested two strategies for addressing the situation: legal action and advocacy for human rights. They asked the community to sign a petition in support of their cause, and to work together to agree on the terms of the petition.

The delegation stressed that the governor had a duty to serve the people and to improve their lives, not to make them worse. They called on the people to come together as a united front and to fight for their rights. They made it clear that the governor would be held accountable for his actions, and that the people would not tolerate injustice.

The delegation went on to explain that land grabs by the government are not new or isolated incidents, but rather part of a larger pattern of behavior. They cited specific examples, such as the seizure of land from the people at the Tejuosho market at Yaba, Oworonshoki, and the Sabo market in Ikorodu. The delegation also noted that they have fought many battles like this in the past, and that they have been successful in their efforts to reclaim the land and protect the rights of those affected.

The delegation stated further that the government’s goal is not to improve the lives of the people, but rather to enrich themselves by seizing land and building structures in their own name. They argued that this is not only illegal and unethical, but also detrimental to the people’s well-being.

In closing, the delegation urged those whose houses were not affected by the 150m space requirement to stop removing their roofs and belongings. They advised them to leave their homes as they are, and to follow the instructions of the movement’s leaders. The delegation then called on the community leaders to take action against any illegal markings on the affected land, and to work with the movement to ensure that the situation was resolved. They expressed their hope that a positive outcome could be achieved through cooperation and unity.


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