A lawmaker representing Akure South/ North federal constituency at the House of Representatives, Hon. Afe Olowookere, has advocated for the return of lands acquired by the Federal Government during the military era.
According to a statement issued in Akure by his office, Olowookere, while moving the motion on the floor of green chamber , urged the House to urgently mandate the federal government to return the large expanse of unutilized land acquired for military barracks to the various host communities for more effective use.
The lawmaker noted that in the 70s, the Nigeria government under the Military regimes acquired large expanse of lands in some state capital cities, measuring about 1/4 one-quarter of the land area of the cities for purpose of establishing Military barracks.
He opined that ‘As at the time of this acquisition, the Communities affected could not raise any voice of opposition in spite of the economic deprivation this constituted, considering the draconian nature and posture of Military rule’.
He further noted that since this acquisition, none of these lands has been put to maximum use by the Nigerian Military, rather, more than 80% of the land acquired has not been occupied. A good example is the Owena Army barrack in Akure, Ondo State, Alamala Army barrack in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Ojoo Military Cantonment in Ibadan, Oyo State, Abuja acquisition that covers Giri-Zuba-Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport.
“The Commandant and their agents in these barracks have turned to emergency landlords/land owners that are now giving out the periphery of the land to the people that desire the use of land for economic ventures on an annual rentage and are raking in for themselves a colossal amount of money while properties of these tenants are destroyed in the event of default in payment of their rents,”he stated .
Olowookere further implored the Minister of Defence and the Federal Ministry of Land and the Defence Ministry in collaboration with the State Ministry of Lands in those states concerned to look into this matter and work out the modalities for the return of the unutilized lands to the host Communities for productive utilization.
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