Some cocoa farmers at the Oluwa Forest Reserve in Odigbo Local Government Area of Ondo State have called on the state Commissioner of Police, Asabi Abiodun, to save them from the alleged attacks by some suspected hoodlums.
The farmers said the attacks against them began after the state High Court sitting in Ore had restrained the state government and other defendants from doing anything on the land.
According to them, an agro-allied company had been claiming that the cocoa farmlands had been leased to it by the state government but the farmers explained that there was a court injunction that had been served to the company in May this year, restraining them from doing anything on the land.
The farmers, on Wednesday in Akure, the state capital, stated that since May when the court had given the order, they had been experiencing attacks by hoodlums in the area
The chairman of the cocoa framers in the community, Mr. Abayomi Isinleye, said the suspected hoodlums were attacking them to eject them from the farmland.
According to him, a protest letter had been submitted to the office of the state’s CP through their lawyer, Mr. Tope Temokun.
Isinleye said, “Our camp was attacked to dislodge us by gunmen believed to be sponsored and in the course of the encounter with them, we pursued the attackers, who shot at us and we recovered two guns and some motorcycles.
“We also recovered some bullets and caps from them, which had been taken to the police area command in Ore to lay our formal complaint.
“Earlier, over the invasion and grading of our cocoa farms lands in the reserve and forceful attempt of eviction of our members from the reserve, we have filed a case in court.
“Upon the application moved by our lawyer, Mr. Tope Temokun, the Ondo State High Court at Ore, presided by Justice Aderemi Adegoroye, granted an interim injunction restraining the Ondo State Government and others from further grading or continuing to grade our cocoa plantations and farmlands.”
He described the move as a call to anarchy, adding that the farmlands were the only source of survival for the farmers.
The group’s secretary, Mr. Odugemi Omolewa, appealed to the state government to save them from being ejected from their means of livelihood.
“Many of the farmers’ relatives had died while many of the children had withdrawn from schools due to inability to work on the farmlands since the crisis started,” he lamented.