Residents of Gerewu community in Ilorin West Local Government Area of Kwara State have accused the management of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) of moves to displace them from their homes.
About 5,000 residents from about 3,000 households raised the alarm during a protest calling on the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Prof Ibrahim Gambari, Kwara State governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari and all well-meaning Kwarans to intervene in the matter.
Displaying placards with various inscriptions, the protesters said they had lived in the area for decades and laboured for years to erect their buildings only for FAAN to start erecting a fence around their homes.
Speaking on behalf of landlords in the community, AbdulAzeez Taofiq alleged that all efforts to meet with FAAN’s management had proved abortive and they had remained evasive over the matter.
He said neither a notice was served on the community nor document presented to them by FAAN relating to the land in question.
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“We are alarmed to see that our houses and lands, which we laboured to acquire are being fenced by FAAN and we don’t know why.
“Some of us are retirees, pensioners who have worked, toiled for years before we are able to put up a structure, we don’t know what is happening but we cannot afford to lose our properties.
“We are appealing to Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, the Emir of Ilorin, Chief of Staff to the President, Prof Ibrahim Gambari to intervene”, he added.
He added that “There are many of us that have our land surveyed. How come a land that was surveyed is now being claimed by FAAN? We feel they want to veto us”.
Acting chairman of the Gerewu community, Alhaji Ibrahim Shuaib said there had never been any indication that the land belongs to FAAN.
Magaji of Gerewu, Alhaji Ibrahim Amosa, who corroborated the submissions of the protesters, said the community had existed for close to 100 years.
Responding, the FAAN PRO, Ilorin, Mrs Oloreigbe, told Daily Trust that the residents are only seeking public sympathy “because they know they are illegal occupants.
“Well, we have held several meetings with them on the issue for years. So, there is no need for the protest because they are aware that they are illegal occupants.
“There are just looking for public sympathy. All the signatures of those who were paid when FAAN bought the land in the 70s were all documented. They have been encroaching on our land and now the federal government is ready to take it back.
“After the completion of the ongoing fencing of the land, we will know the next line of action, the FAAN PRO said.”
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