The Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose’s dream of building an airport has suffered a setback as land owners and plantation farmers displaced from the land on Wednesday secured a major court victory.
A High Court in Ado-Ekiti ruled that the forceful takeover of the land for the airport project and the destruction of economic trees, crops and buildings erected there were unconstitutional, unlawful, illegal, null, void and of no effect.
Justice Dele Omotoso, in his judgment, also ordered the payment N5million as general damages to the claimants for the loss they suffered for the damage of their crops and economic trees.
The claimants are Faluyi Ayeni and eight others, who sued for themselves and on behalf of land owners and farmers of Iwajo, Aso Ayegunle Farm Settlement along Ado-Ijan Road.
The defendants are Fayose, Commissioner for Works, Commissioner for Lands and Housing, and Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in the state.
Justice Omotoso held that the purported revocation of the Right of Occupancy of the claimants to their respective parcels of land was unconstitutional, unlawful, illegal, null and void and of no effect.
Another relief granted in favour of the claimants was a declaration that the forcible entry into their farmsteads by the Defendants ,their agents, servants, privies and assigns on October 2, 2015 was unlawful, illegal, unconstitutional, inequitable, wreak of injustice and violation of their fundamental human rights.
The court further held that the forcible entry into the farmsteads of the claimants on October 2, 2015 and subsequent occasions to clear and remove their crops and buildings without proper enumeration of the crops thereof while purportedly acting on Notice of Revocation dated September 18, 2015 was unlawful, illegal, unconstitutional and ineffective to divest the Claimants of their interest rights on their respective land.
The court equally granted an order of injunction restraining the Defendants, their agents, servants, privies, workmen, appointees, consultants from treating the Rights of Occupancy of the Claimants as having been revoked by virtue of the Notice of Revocation captioned Land Use Act Nigeria dated September 18, 2015.
The defendants and their agents were also restrained from forcibly entering, trespassing, coercing, intimidating, harassing or in any other manner whatsoever from gaining access to the farms and landed property of the claimants.
The court also granted an injunction sought by the claimants restraining the defendants from further removing, harvesting, clearing or otherwise damaging the economic crops, buildings and chattels on the land.