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Ekiti laments rising land disputes

By Victor Akinkuolie, Ado-Ekiti

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The Ekiti State Government has tasked traditional rulers on the need to find ways of stopping the upsurge of land disputes in the state, stressing that autonomy granted some towns was intended to ignite development and not rancour.

The government urged the host communities where some towns were excised for full autonomy to recognise the new status of their neighbours and live peacefully with them, rather than perceive them as enemies.

The state Deputy Governor, Mrs Monisade Afuye, stated this in Ado Ekiti, on Tuesday, while interfacing with the Ijero Council of Traditional Rulers on the boundary dispute among the trio of Owatedo, Ejiyan and Ipoti Ekiti, in Ijero Local Government Area of the state.

Monarchs present at the parley include: the Ajero of Ijero and paramount ruler of the council, Oba Joseph Adewole, Olupoti of Ipoti, Oba Oladipupo Kolade, and Obalaaye of Ejiyan, Oba Adesesan Adepoju.

Others are: Olojaowa of Owatedo, Oba Olawumi Olofinlade, Olowa of Odo Owa, Oba Ayorinde Oyedeji and the Onikun of Temidire, Oba Fabusuyi.

Mrs Afuye bemoaned the festering land tussle in the three communities in recent time, promising that a committee set up by the government will visit the neighbouring towns for proper boundary demarcations that will resolve the crisis.

The Deputy Governor said it was appalling that the towns who had existed together under Ipoti-Ekiti for several years before the autonomy could be experiencing lingering land dispute, urging them to resolve the tussle and learn to live together peacefully.

She expressed delight over the willingness of Ajero of Ijero and paramount ruler of the council to meddle in the crisis, exuding confidence that this measure would help in expeditious resolution of the protracted boundary crisis.

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“What Governor Biodun Oyebanji desires is peace and he considers the traditional rulers as champions in this regard. So, we can’t afford to be fighting each other over boundaries or superiority in chieftaincy titles that have existed for ages.

“The committee will be there to verify issues and record them for future references. We are not going to apportion blames. We will not also fold our arms and allow bloodshed over matters that can be resolved amicably.”

Lending his voice to the position canvassed by the Deputy Governor, the Ajero of Ijero Ekiti, Oba Adewole, stated that he was quite aware of the boundary dispute among the communities, stressing that the issue is  not enough to stoke the fire of division or bad blood if well handled.

Oba Adewole urged the three towns to cohabit peacefully and perceive the autonomy granted for Ejiyan and Owatedo, after being excised from Ipoti Ekiti as a veritable avenue for development and not war.

The prominent monarch stated that all the traditional rulers in Ijero local government were carried along during the time the autonomy was being initiated, and they approved the government’s policy to propel development at the grassroots.

“If you go to those towns, all the three were neighbours. They have built houses together and intermarried. Now that the autonomy had been given to two out of the three towns, the monarchs must move fast and foster peace,” he said.

The monarch appealed to government to deploy its committee to the area to unravel more findings to ease the settlement of the dispute expeditiously.

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“We will all make ourselves available to help the Committee arrive at a good and informed decision on this matter”.

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