Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
For allegedly appropriating their land located in Ado Ekiti by former Governor Ayodele Fayose, the Muslim community in the state Saturday staged a peaceful protest, urging the state government to revoke the land to avert crisis in the state.
The Muslims, who parade placards of various inscriptions, said the land located at Atikankan area, Odo Out, in the state capital was acquired in 1940 under the leadership of the late Ewi of Ado Ekiti, Oba Aladesanmi Anirare, describing the forceful takeover of the land as an act of oppression to Muslims in the state.
The President of the protesting Ahmmadiyya Muslim Jama’at, Ekiti chapter, Mr. Alawode Bashirudeen, said the organisation built the first mosque on the plot of land in the 40’s before the old structure built with mud blocks was demolished.
Some of the placards read: ‘No Illegal Acquisition of our land’, ‘Government, Give Us Our Land’, ‘We Want Our Land Back’ and ‘Enough of Marginalisation of Muslims in Ekiti’.
Alawode said the Islamic group was surprised this year during Fayose’s regime to see a new petrol station built on the land that was apportioned to them 78 years ago.
He said the group immediately sent a letter to the former governor, where they got to know that the land was allegedly acquired by the ex-governor for his son to construct a filling station.
“We went to the state Ministry of Lands and the General Manager of the Ekiti State Housing Corporation and complained, but they told us the land has been acquired by the government and we suspected that government can’t acquire land to build a petrol.
“When we suspected foul play and saw the structure springing up, we sent a petition to the police commissioner and he intervened and stooped the construction. It was at the meeting with the CP that we got to know that the land was acquired by the governor for his son.
“Rather than even tender apology, the ex-governor threatened us and said the land had been acquired and that there was nothing we could do about it.
“We have documents backing us that we are the original owner, so we are appealing to the government to remove the structure and give us our land back, it belongs to us.
“We can only negotiate with the owner of this structure if they give us another land within this vicinity and this should come with all necessary documents,” he said.
But when contacted, the Chief Press Secretary to Fayose, Idowu Adelusi, said he could not understand what the protesters were talking about.
“I can’t react to their protest because I don’t have idea of what they are talking about,” Adelusi said.