The Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Monisade Afuye, has assured all the towns enmeshed in boundary crisis that the government will ensure justice and act as an impartial arbiter in all pending land disputes in the state.
The government said it would not view any land matter brought before it from the prism of political affiliation in the interest of peace and unity.
Mrs Afuye gave the assurance, on Thursday, while interfacing with the stakeholders in the lingering land dispute between Ifisin and Esure Ekiti, in a statement signed by her Media Aide, Victor Ogunje.
The parley was convened by the government sequel to a petition written by Ifisin Community, alleging that some Esure Ekiti farmers were trespassing on its lands.
Presiding over the matter, with the representatives of the two communities in attendance, Mrs Afuye, said the Ekiti State Land Dispute Resolution Committee, comprising the Permanent Secretary in her office, Mr Abayomi Opeyemi and the Ekiti State Surveyor General, Surveyor Adebayo Faleto will visit the disputed land to ascertain the veracity of the claims being made by the feuding parties.
Appealing to the communities to abide by whatever conclusion arrived at by the committee, Afuye disclosed that the peace and stability of the state are very dear to Governor Biodun Oyebanji and that nothing will be allowed to tinker with the relative peace in Ekiti.
She said the two towns had coexisted peacefully for years due to the strong cord of unity and love between them, warning that the current crisis should not be allowed to sever the long-standing relationship.
“Let me reiterate once again that what Governor Biodun Oyebanji expects from all towns is peace and he has been preaching towards it and anything that will affect our peace negatively, we want to be avoiding it. Let us learn how to be civil and decorous.
“We have a standing committee to handle issues of this nature. The committee will come and visit the place. Please, warn your youths, don’t let them bring thugs to come and harass anybody. Justice shall prevail in this matter.
“Let me assure you that we are not going to be biased or show political favouritism in any land dispute we handle and that we will apply in this matter. We must learn how to show love to our neighbors; that was what our forebears showed over some of these lands we are now fighting over.
“The cocoa and kola nut that Esure Ekiti farmers had planted on this land will be difficult to remove, even if the place called Omifunfun is taken as the boundary. So, Ifisin people will be made to show understanding in the interest of peace between the two towns.
“My submission doesn’t preempt the outcome of what the committee will submit as recommendations. I am just laying emphasis that it is going to be a win-win situation for the two towns”.
The Elesure of Esure, Oba Adebanji Ajibola and the representative of Onifisin, Surveyor Bamidele Fabode, lauded the position canvassed by the Deputy Governor that the committee will visit the land before taking its final position on the matter.
But speaking to the petition earlier written to the government, the representative of Onifisin, Surveyor Fabode, said a meeting had earlier been convened at the behest of Onifisin and Elesure, where it was agreed that “Omifunfun Stream” be taken as the boundary.
He added that part of the resolution was that Esure farmers, who have cocoa plantations beyond the stream, would be allowed to maintain the ownership of their crops.
“It was agreed at the meeting held in Ifisin Ekiti where the two monarchs were present and the representatives of the two towns that Omifunfun Stream was the boundary. It was also agreed that Esure farmers will be made to retain their cocoa even if Ifisin decided to survey the land up to the stream”.
But Elesure, Oba Ajibola, countered the position, describing a rock called “Aibayan” as the boundary contrary to the claim by the Ifisin people.
The monarch lamented how his people were being arrested by the Ifisin people and filing trespass charges against them over land they had owned for centuries, describing such as inhuman and wicked.
“The stream we mentioned had always been the boundary. But we will allow the government to mediate in this matter and come out with a true position on who truly owns the land between us. I will continue to appeal to my people to maintain peace”.