Indigenes of Ifon Orolu community in Osun State on Tuesday staged a peaceful protest over alleged plans by the Nigerian Army to use land belonging to the community for a project without seeking their approval.
Led by the regent, Chief Babatunde Oyetunji, the Eesa of Ifon, the protesters claimed some military men had visited Olobu of Ilobu, Oba Asiru Olaniyan, and later moved round a parcel of land belonging to Ifon Orolu, in preparation for a project being proposed for the area, without seeking their input.
The protesters, bearing inscriptions such as ‘Lagbaja don’t cause crises in Orolu/Irepodun community,’ ‘Nigerian Army is for whole nation, not for a community,’ ‘federal government should caution Lagbaja,’ ‘Tinubu call Lagbaja to order,’ amongst others, said they were not opposed to siting of developmental projects in the area.
They, however, demanded that the approval of the community must be obtained and that the name of Ifon should be put on the project since it would be sited on their land.
Speaking on behalf of the protesters, the Regent, Chief Oyetunji, advised the Chief of Army Staff, Major General Taoreed Lagbaja, who hails from Ilobu to ensure that siting of project, should not lead to crises in the area.
Oyetunji further said, “Available information further revealed that the proposed facility will be built on Orolu land with a possible ulterior motive of naming it as belonging to Ilobu community.
“We also seize this opportunity to call the attention of the President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu (GCFR) and the Chief of Army Staff to be cautious on this matter in order to avoid communal clash, the result of which could include loss of lives and properties.
“The two communities of Ifon Orolu and Ilobu are no stranger to frequent clashes and it would be unwise to deliberately cause another one at this point in time.We hereby state as follows:We are fully aware that General Taoreed ; The new Chief of Army Staff is an indigene of Ilobu in Irepodun Local Government of Osun State.
“While the people of Orolu Local Government are not opposed to any development in Irepodun & Orolu Local Government areas, any development project must be done in consultation with relevant stakeholders and especially those whose land would be used to host the projects. We want to categorically state that some of the places the Military Officials were sighted during the tour actually belong to the Odofin and Eleesi families in Ifon-Osun.”
Also commenting, the Secretary of Ifon Orolu Development Board, Prince Jide Akinyooye, called on Osun State Governor, Ademola Adeleke, and the president, Bola Tinubu, to immediately intervene and prevent further escalation of the tension building up in the area over the proposed project.