Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
Indigenes and residents of the 13 villages, whose communal lands were acquired by Ogun State Government, for the Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta, for the establishment of a Federal Teaching Hospital and College of Medicine project, have appealed to the Federal Government and Governor Ibikunle Amosun of for adequate compensation and resettlement of displaced villagers.
The affected villagers, who spoke through their Village Heads, under the auspices of Coalition of Heads of the Affected Villages located at Obafemi-Owode Local Government Area of the state, lamented that all efforts made to get compensation paid by relevant government agencies as well as resettlement of the villagers for over six months had not yielded any result.
In a letter written to Governor Amosun, a copy of which was obtained, on Thursday, by our correspondent, the heads of the affected villages expressed their worries over the sudden take-over of their means of livelihood without any form of compensation and resettlement.
The letter partly read: “Our anxiety has been what will be our fate as a result of the annihilation of the entire thirteen villages for the project development.
“How to cope with life after our imminent displacement has been our source of concern and sorrow to all of us”
“We are typical villagers who have no other place than our inherited village shelters and farm lands. How do we survive without our shelter and farm lands?
“This is the reason why we hereby exploit this opportunity to appeal to you and your government to be compassionate towards us, by relocating us to a place that would no more be acquired by any future government” the Village Heads said.
“Most of our youths are unemployed graduates who have left with no option other than farming. These youths have never been lucky to have benefited from any of the agriculture programme floated by either federal or state governments.
“Their farmlands either purchased or inherited for growing perennial crops. They had already cleared hectares of land in preparation for farming season, which was also affected by sudden takeover by government for the said project”.
Meanwhile, in another letter written to the Medical Director of the Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta, the village heads, who wondered why the Ogun State Government took over the payment of compensation on a Federal Government’s project, also demanded that Federal Government should take up the payment of the compensation without any form of intermediary.
“We find it so difficult to trust a government that has abandoned the villages for decades with such huge responsibility.
“Going by the antecedents of the state government in that regards and our experiences in similar cases in the past, we appeal to your office to use your authority and prevent the state government from being an intermediary in the process of payment of the compensation”, the villagers stated in the letter.