700 Ekiti landowners paid N500m compensation for cargo airport

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Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, on Monday, once again formally apologised to victims of human rights abuse and violations in the state for the financial loss as well as the psychological and physical injuries they might have suffered.

The governor said the state was in the process of enacting a criminal law that would place the interests of the victims side by side those of the offenders.

Fayemi spoke in Ado Ekiti while presenting cheques for N7.4m to petitioners, who were awarded compensations by the panel of inquiry handling cases of human rights abuses by the disbanded police Special-Anti Robbery Squad.

The governor also paid N500m to about 700 farmers, whose land was acquired for the building of an international cargo airport in the state, saying, “The construction of the airport will, in the long run, create jobs, drive investments and our crops will be better marketed locally and internationally when operational.

“May I once again formally apologise to all the victims of rights violations as recognised by the judicial panel for the hurt they experienced and the loss that they suffered. It is my hope that this monetary compensation will contribute to repairing your financial loss and other psychological and physical injuries that you have suffered.

“The award of compensation to victims is just one of the steps we have taken to ensure that long after the panel may have concluded its work, our processes and systems will continue to provide effective and appropriate redress for victims.”

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While presenting cheques to farmers and owners of 4,017 hectares of land acquired for the airport, Fayemi said the money would be distributed to farmers in Afao, Ago Aduloju, Araromi Obo, Ijan, Igbogun,Ogbese and others, to alleviate whatever they had suffered in the process of construction of the airport.

The Chairman of the Panel of Inquiry on SARS, Justice Cornelius Akintayo, applauded Fayemi for approving the compensation to the petitioners.

“We thank the government for not waiting until we finish before starting paying compensation. This will instil confidence and trust in governance. If we recommend and there is no political will to implement, then nothing has happened,” Akintayo added.

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