Any land we take over has been duly paid for-GOFAMINT
Some residents of Aluoge via Ogunmakin in Obafemi/Owode local government area of Ogun State have accused Gospel Faith Mission International (GOFAMINT) of allegedly using various arm twisting tactics including use of an alleged notorious landgrabber, one Kehinde Gbenro to take over their expanse of farm land at all cost.
Our Correspondent during the protest gathered that since about five years that GOFAMINT Church moved its headquarters at Ojoo, Ibadan Oyo State to Ogunmakin, Ogun State, it has allegedly been
mounting unnecessary pressure on the owners of farmlands in the area and sometimes engaging the service of one Gbenro, an alleged landgrabber to ensure that such lands are sold.
Speaking with our Correspondent during the protest, 77 year old farmer, Mr Oyelami Adeleke said that to say the least, he was really disappointed at the ungodly behavior of a renowned church as GOFAMINT.
Mr Oyelami Adeleke said that truly, the church through its lawyer, one Adegbite and another Pastor with the mission, one Adeogun had contacted him and other families who own the farmland but owners of the farmland had always insisted that their land was not for sale as they were still being used for agricultural purposes and serving as their means of livelihood.
He said he was however in the farm last week Tuesday when one of his children came to inform him that GOFAMINT had moved their tractors to the farmland and were about to begin clearing of the land.
Mr Adeleke said he had thought it was all a joke as he could never believed that a church of God could be so brazen and callous to move in bulldozer to clear farmland which the residents are using as their means of livelihood.
He explained further that he was however proved wrong as he saw that the church tractor had actually been moved into the farm .
Mr Adeleke disclosed further that just while he was demanding explanation from the people who came with the tractor, the alleged notorious landgrabber being used by the church, Gbenro came in with some of his boys armed to the teeth with guns, cutlasses and charms.
He said the next thing he saw was Gbenro brushing aside his son, one Tobi Adeleke and snatching the phone he was using to record the event.
Mr Adeleke disclosed further that just as he cautioned Gbenro to let go of his son’s phone, he descended on him and beat him mercilessly for having the effrontery and gut to demand explanation from the GOFAMINT Church that brought in tractor to their farmland.
He stated that the incident was reported at Ogunmakin police station and that Gbenro was alleged to have also boasted while he was at the police station that he had cut into pieces the phone he collected from his son, Tobi.
Mr Adeleke stated further that Gbenro had equally allegedly threatened to kill any of the farm land owners who dare come around the vicinity of the farm
Mr Adeleke on behalf other other residents has therefore cried to Gov Dapo Abiodun and the Commissioner of Police, CP Edward Awolowo Ajogun to rise up and defend them against this unwarranted attack and wilful destruction of farmlands with various agricultural produce like cocoa, kolanuts, cassava, yams among others.
Speaking with our Correspondent, the lawyer to GOFAMINT, Mr Adegbite however declared that the church has never and would never engage in the practice of using landgrabbers to get any land for the church.
Reacting to the allegations of the farmland owners, Adegbite said “I don’t know anything about the protest and, secondly, GOFAMINT Church is a well known church in Nigeria and across the continent, the church is about 66 years old and it is not that they just started acquiring land at Ogunmakin where they have their convention ground, and we don’t possess any land that we have not paid for.
“We don’t take possession of any land that we have not paid for, we don’t cross our boundaries, any land that has been taken over by GOFAMINT has been duly paid for. We don’t use any landgrabbers either and Gbenro is not a middle man in this transaction
The church stand on truth and we don’t do anything that negates the stand of the church. Any land that the church takes possession of in Ogunmakin community are land that we have duly paid the family for and we have our documents to back this up”.
The alleged landgrabber, Gbenro Kehinde also told our Correspondent that he knew nothing about what the owners of the expanse farmland accused him of.
When our Correspondent contacted the Public Relations Officer of Ogun State police command, DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi for his reaction on this incident he said he was in a programme while subsequent calls to his phone were not connecting.