By Kayode Afolabi
Farmers at Oluwa Forest Reserve, in Odigbo Local Government Area of Ondo State have continued to live in palpable fear following an attack on them by suspected gunmen.
It was gathered that the gunmen attacked farmers and destroyed farm settlements in the area and cocoa plantations in Temidire.
According to report, the farmers ran for their lives after the armed men, shot sporadically into the air to scare them away.
The chairman of the farmers, Abayomi lsinleye while speaking with our correspondent via phone call alleged that the gunmen were sent by SAO Agro-Allied Services Limited, the company which the state government allotted their cocoa farm to.
“There was a court order restraining the Agro-Allied Company from taking over the land until the determination of the suit instituted by the farmers, despite that, the firm has continued to clear the plantations
“The existing interim injunction which was granted by Justice Aderemi Adegoroye of Ondo State High Court sitting in Ondo, has restrained all respondents in the suit, including SAO Agro-Allied Services Limited, to stop bulldozing the farmers’ cocoa plantations, but they do not adhere to it.
“When they arrived the farm, We pleaded with them not destroy our Farm land, as we both pay some certain amount of money to the government, They collected 5000 per hectares, we collected N10,000 per hectares, we begged them, and everyone rested on the issue
“Some of their officers we met, said they wanted to call their boss after which a call was put across to him five days ago.
“We are yet to see their boss till now ,while having a meeting in our camp, we saw their vigilante shooting sporadically into the air, damaging our farm settlements where we were having a meeting, but no life was lost during the attack.
“Some of us had to struggle with the vigilante and were able to snatch two guns, a pump action and an air rifle, from them.
“One of the invaders was apprehended and handed over to Police Area Command in Ore”, he said.
However, The state commands spokesperson Funmi Odunlami promised to get back to our correspondent when contacted.
Counsel to the farmers, Tope Temokun, however called on Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, to “call whoever was in charge of SAO Agro-Allied Services Limited to order to save the state from anarchy of profit-drive by a private company, which has shown desperation in dislodging the farmers from their farmlands at all costs, in disregard of order of court and pendency of suit.”a