By; OLADELE ADEDAYO, Ado-Ekiti
No fewer than 700 hundred farmers whose lands were acquired for the building of International Cargo Airport and victim’s of human rights violations were on Monday presented cheques worth N507.4m by the Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi.
However, N7.4 million from the lump sum was paid to petitioners who were awarded compensations by the judicial panel of inquiry handling cases of human rights abuses by the disbanded Special Anti- Robbery Squad (SARS).
While addressing the SARS’ victims in Ado-Ekiti,the State capital, Fayemi said his government decided not to wait for six months expiration given the judicial panel of inquiry before starting payment to instil confidence in governance.
Fayemi promised that his government will carry out Law reforms, policy change and institutional strengthening that can fight crime in Ekiti and ensure justice for all.
“In most cases, we pay attentions to the offenders while not trying to remedy the emotional and psychological damage done to the victims.The House of Assembly has begun work on Ekiti criminal code with the task of ensuring that victims of crime are put side by side with the offenders and get compensations while the offenders got punishment .
“I hereby apologise to the the victims of human rights violations in Ekiti for the hurt and damage they had suffered emotionally and psychologically. These monetary compensations would help to alleviate your fellelings and what you have suffered”.
While presenting cheques to farmers and owners of 4,017 hectares of lands acquired for the airport, Fayemi said the money will be distributed to farmers from Afao, Ago Aduloju, Araromi Obo, Ijan, Igbogun,Ogbese and others, to alleviate whatever they have suffered through the process of construction.
Fayemi said: “The construction of airport will on the long run create jobs, drive investments and our crops will be better marketed locally and international when operational.
“We have been able to surmount all initial problems and we have settled all issues with those whose farms were acquired in the construction. Ekiti is purely agrarian,this airport will help us maximise our gains in this sector”.
The Head of the panel of inquiry, Justice Cornelius Akintayo,applauded Fayemi for approving the compensations to the petitioners,who are now beneficiaries of the State’s largesse.
“We thank the government for not waiting until we round off before starting paying compensations. This will instil confidence and trust in governance. If we recommend and there was no political will to implement, then nothing has happened” .
The Director General and Special Adviser to the Governor on Land Matters,Mrs. Olufunke Falodun,said apart from N500 million monetary compensations to be paid to the land owners, they would also get Certificates of indemnity covering every loss they had been incurred.