Muslims in Ado Ekiti have protested against the takeover of their land by the immediate past governor of the state, Mr Ayodele Fayose, describing the action as an act of oppression against adherents of the faith in the state.
The placard-carrying faithful under the aegis of the Ahmmadiyya Muslim Jama’at, Ekiti State Chapter, appealed to Governor Kayode Fayemi to revoke the ownership of the land from Fayose and return it to them in order to avert a crisis in the state.
Among the inscriptions on the placards were: ‘We want our land back’, ‘Enough of marginalisation of Muslims in Ekiti’, ‘No to illegal acquisition of our land, and ‘Government, give us our land’.
The President, Ahmmadiyya Muslim Jama’at, Ekiti State Chapter, Bashirudeen Alawode, alleged that the former governor took over the land located in Atikankan area of the state capital, which was acquired in 1940, to build a petrol filling station for his son.
Alawode said the society built the first mosque on the plot of land in the 1940s before the demolition of the old structure that was built with mud blocks, adding that Fayose took over the land from them.
He said that on seeing a petrol station springing up on the land, “we went to the state Ministry of Lands and the General Manager of the Ekiti State Housing Corporation to complain, but they told us that the land had been acquired by the government.”
Alawode stated, “When we suspected foul play that the government could not acquire a piece of land to build a petrol station, we sent a petition to the Commissioner of Police in the state and he intervened and stopped the construction work. It was at the meeting with the police commissioner that we got to know that the land was acquired by the former governor for his son.
“We have documents supporting our position that we are the original owners. So, we are appealing to the government to remove the structure and give us our land back; it belongs to us.”
The Special Assistant on Public Communications to Fayose, Lere Olayinka, who dismissed the allegation, said, “No child of the former governor is building a petrol station anywhere in Ekiti State and none of them benefitted from his government in terms of land acquisition.
“All actions of his (Fayose’s) government were done within the ambit of the law and the records are there.’’