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Ekiti, Kwara ‘ll Resolve Boundary Dispute Without Violence, Deputy Gov Assures

The Ekiti State Government, has appealed to the people of Eda Oniyo Ekiti, in Ilejemeje Local Government Area of the State that the lingering land dispute between them and their Obbo Ayegunle neighbours in Kwara State, will be resolved without violence or bloodshed.

The Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Chief (Mrs) Monisade Afuye, gave the assurance in Ado Ekiti, on Thursday, while interfacing with Eda Oniyo community over a festering boundary dispute between the two towns.

The interface, according to a statement signed by the Special Assistant on Media to the Deputy Governor, Victor Ogunje, was sequel to a petition written by the community, raising eyebrows over how Obbo Ayegunle had allegedly been encroaching into its land and violently attacking the owners.

Meanwhile, Mrs Afuye told the community that Governor Biodun Oyebanji values peace and good neighborliness and that this should reflect in their conducts and behaviour until the matter is laid to rest.

“There won’t be bloodshed and the state government shall deploy the instrumentality of the law and peace building efforts to resolve this matter. Kwara State is our good neighbour and we can’t afford to fight them”, she said.

The Deputy Governor directed the Technical Committee on Boundary Dispute to visit the area to ascertain the veracity of the claims of the town about the ownership of the land under contention.

During today’s parley, the delegation from the Eda Oniyo was led by Eleda of Eda Oniyo Ekiti, Oba Julius Awolola, former Commissioner for Sports and National President, Eda Oniyo Progressive Union, Dr. Rufus Ajayi, traditional chiefs and prominent elite of the town.

In their submissions, the petitioner, through Oba Awolola, complained about how some people from Obo Ayegunle allegedly invaded his town and started arresting people indiscriminately and clamped them in detention over a vast plot of land located between the two towns.

Oba Awolola said the Obbo Ayegunle farmers had been paying royalty to Eda Oniyo on the land for decades, only for them to stop and making alleged spirited efforts to forcefully take over the land from his people.

The monarch explained that the land under dispute belonged to the town based on the National Boundary Commission(NBC) resolution about the presence of Ondo State’s Pillar on the land and backed by a document gazetted as legal Notice No 126 of 1954 under Western Region.

The monarch said that Obbo Ayegunle relocated to their present location in 1927, while Eda Oniyo Ekiti, had settled in the town since 14th Century, sharing boundaries with Etan and Eruku in Kwara State.

“In 2008, there was a meeting called by NBC between the two communities where some resolutions were made in favour of Ekiti that the legal notice No 126 of 1954 should be allowed to stand because it remains extant document and yet to be amended.

“They can’t use threat and violence to retrieve that land. That boundary can’t be changed orally. They don’t have anything to controvert the 1954 document. That land belonged to Eda Oniyo and what Obbo Ayegunle was doing was an attempt by Kwara State to rob Ekiti of its inheritance”, the monarch said.

Shedding more lights on the dispute, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Olugbenga Odesanmi, revealed that the matter can be resolved with government’s intervention, saying the land was about to be taken over because it was leased for too long by Eda Oniyo people .

Odesanmi added that Obbo Ayegunle, had expanded from their present location to the land under dispute, saying their could be need for the NBC to intervene and resolve the matter amicably.

In his submission, the State’s Deputy Surveyor -General, Surveyor Rufus Gbadura, said the land under dispute bore the pillars that demarcated the boundary between the Western Region and the Northern Province, which further attested to the fact that it belonged to Ekiti State.

However, in a counter move, the Obbo Ayegunle Descendants Union, had in a letter addressed to Governor Biodun Oyebanji, also accused Eda Oniyo Ekiti of intruding into their lands and causing unnecessary insurrection.

Painfully enough, this dimension came to fore barely a week after the Deputy Governor led a delegation to her counterpart in Osun State, Prince Kola Adewusi, on how to map out strategies to resolve the boundary disputes between the two contiguous states.

Posted in Ekiti State News Bulletin
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