As the Ondo state awaits the commencement of deep Seaport operations, Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu has vowed not to append his signature on any Certificate of Occupancy, C of O, for plots of land around Olokola at Ilaje local government area of the state to prevent indiscriminate sale of land at the detriment of land owners in the area.
The senior special assistant on special duties to Akeredolu, Dr Doyin Odebowale stated this in an interview with TENET on Tuesday in Akure.
The federal executive council (FEC) had recently given approval for the operating licence of the port, at a meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja.
Odebowale explained that Akeredolu’s decision to suspend signing any C of O in the area was made to protect land owners from hurriedly selling their plots of land at ridiculous prices at this period.
He explained that some individuals from other parts of the country who understand the economic benefits of the seaport, would soon be visiting the area to start buying lands from the local dwellers at cheaper prices.
Odebowale also warned the people in the area to resist any temptation to sell their plots of land now.
He said, “I want to ask land owners in the area to be patient because there is every tendency that they will want to jump to the opportunity at this time. They should resist any temptation to sell land at this time.
“Anybody who is wise now should just be careful because what we are going to experience in the next couple of months will be so massive to the point that you can't even imagine that what you may be able to buy for N200,000 to N250,000 now, will later be sold for N5million and it will still be unwise for you to sell because of what is to come.
“I will advise them to watch and keep developing as those who want to dispossess them of their own land are thinking, they should also be thinking ahead because anyone who wants to buy your land now can not be your friend. Not that he wants to ameliorate your condition, no, he only wants to take advantage of your condition and he is waiting for the best time to exploit.
“Of course, they( local natives) will be working with government officials. However, they must also be wary of unscrupulous elements among the government officials who may want to connive with those who are coming to cheat them.
“What I am trying to say in essence is that, if you have an economic programme as a government and the local natives and residents of the area where the project is taking place, are not participating, that is a direct source of impoverishment.
“The local natives must participate actively in the local economy. That is direct empowerment.
“Of course, governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu made it abundantly clear that he would not sign any Certificate of Occupancy for anybody along that corridor. He would not do that.
“We can only try but if you have a house in Ore Town, we can not ask you not to sell, if you have plots of land at ilu-tuntun, we can't also say don't sell. But for the corridors of Seaport, we are going to prevent indiscriminate sale of land.”