The Ondo State High Court, sitting in Ore, in the Odigbo Council area of the state, has ordered the state government and a private company, Sao Agro-Allied Services Limited, to stop the forceful evicting over 10,000 farmers from its Oluwa Forest Reserve. The court also stopped the state government and the firm from grading the farmers’ cocoa farms. FarmingFarmersFarms recalls that the farmers had protested against the forceful eviction from the forest reserve, by the state government. The farmers said that they pay as much as N5 million annually, to the government as dues on the land and had been farming on the land for over 20 years. The court, which was presided over by Justice Ademola Adegoroye, ordered the authorities involved to maintain the status quo until further pronouncement.
In the suit filed by their lawyer, Tope Tomekun, the farmers asked for “an order of interim injunction restraining the Defendants/Respondents, their privies, servants and agents and/or anyone acting through them, or for them, or on their instruction or authority, from further grading or continuing to grade the claimants/applicants’ farmlands of cocoa plantations in their farmlands, covering the camps of Temidire, Adeleye, Itamerin, Ikawo, Ijoba, Ayeleso, Isero and their sub-camps, within the Oluwa Forest Reserve at OA3A, Odigbo in Odigbo Local Government Area of Ondo State, the subject-matter of this suit, pending the hearing of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction”. After hearing the farmers’ counsel, the court ruled that the application has merit, as Justice Adegoroye said that the application deserved to be granted and gave orders as prayed.