The Ikole Local Government Area of Ekiti State is set to benefit from a N2.5 billion agricultural project targeted at boosting the production and processing of food crops.
The project is an integrated venture covering cassava, cashew, maize and soya beans cultivation, processing and packaging.
Pioneered in partnership with the Odu’a Investment Company Ltd, the project is also set to enhance the poultry sector, particularly in poultry farming and the production of feeds.
Over the week, the Ekiti government sought the cooperation of five towns in the LGA, for a successful take-off of the project.
The communities including Ipao, Oke Ako, Irele, Ijowa and Itapaji, are priority areas for the project.
The project, according to the Deputy Governor, Chief Bisi Egbeyemi, would generate 400 direct jobs and 1,000 indirect jobs and that indigenes of the communities would benefit the most.
He described the project as a very rare opportunity and urged the communities to regard it as a catalyst for development, growth and economic and social emancipation.
The deputy governor made this disclosure during a meeting with traditional rulers and chiefs of benefiting communities in Ado-Ekiti.
“This is a very rare opportunity for our people in these five communities because they stand to gain a lot from the investment on their lands. It will open up the towns to more development and will attract people from outside.
“Besides, your children who are qualified will be given priorities in terms of jobs that it will generate. The investment will create 400 direct jobs and 1,000 indirect jobs and indigenes of the affected towns will be considered first.
“Government will speak with Odu’a Group and they will take care of you. There will be compensation for owners of farms where we have economic trees,’’ he said.
Egbeyemi also assured that modalities for compensation on economic trees to be affected by the project would be worked out by the state government in line with the extant laws guiding the acquisition of land.
He said that the state government would complete work on the bridge linking Itapaji with Iyemero to bring relief to commuters, farmers, traders and other residents.
He further appealed to indigenes of the communities to cooperate with the government to survey the 10,000 hectares of land allocated to Odu’a Investments in the 1950s ahead of the commencement of work.
While urging youths of the communities to refrain from acts that would frustrate the project and discourage investment, he also residents of their safety from bandits.
The Olu of Itapaji, Oba Kareem Adebanjo; the Alajowa of Ijowa, Oba Emmanuel Omopariola; the Regent of Oke Ako, Princess Tinuade Ogunbiyi; the Alabusoye of Ipao, Chief Ajayi Andero and Ejisun of Irele, Chief Adegbenro Eleoramo, were present at the meeting.
They expressed their readiness to cooperate with the government and with the investor for the take-off of the project.
Oba Adebanjo, who spoke on behalf of the communities thanked the state government for clarifying the project’s layout and ensuring better cooperation between the investors and the indigenes.
Speaking on behalf of the youths, Dare Faleke and Dare Ojo sought government’s intervention in addressing incessant attacks on their farmlands.
They lauded the state government for considering their land for the project which they believed would open up the area to investors and improve indigenes’ socio-economic development.
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