Ondo state Governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko has warned illegal occupants of the adjudged largest oil palm plantation in West Africa, the Okitipupa Oil palm Plc to steer clear of the plantation, declaring that the endgame has come for them.
Giving the warning at the weekend, Dr Mimiko said with the 27.5km Ajagba-Iyansan road commissioned earlier in the week, sanity would be restored to the plantation, as the availability of the road will put paid to the activities of the illegal occupants who have been thriving on the limited access to the plantation through the waterways.
Mentioning some of the advantages of the newly commissioned road to the host community and the environs, Mimiko said the largest plantation of the Okitipupa Oil Palm Plc is sited along the Ajagba-Iyansan route.
Noting that the road actually passes through the plantation, Mimiko said the cost of transportation from the plantation which was limited to the waterways had been a major issue militating against the smooth operation of the company.
” One of the factors that has over the years affected the production cost of this company is the cost of transportation of harvested palm fruits through the waterways, in the absence of this road over the years and which has resulted in the illegal occupation of the farm by unscrupulous persons”
Mimiko thus warned that the illegal occupants should steer clear of the plantation.
Handing over the quit notice, he said ” let me sound it loud and clear to those occupying the plantation illegally that the endgame has come and that it would no longer be business as usual”.
Counselling the unwanted occupants, the Governor said they would need to engage themselves in other legal and productive activities “as no responsible government would fold her arms while the people’s collective patrimony is being brazenly and wantonly occupied with a dangerous level of desecration by criminals and vandals”.
Promising that the new road would be maintained properly, Mimiko acknowledged the various issues associated with frequent distresses and damage to roads such as high water table especially in the southern senatorial district, adding that government has come to terms with the imperativeness of a strong, virile, tractable and proactive direct labour agency.
To this end he said, government has signed into law with the cooperation of the Ondo State House of Assembly, a bill aimed at repositioning the Ondo State Agency for Road Construction and Maintenance (OSARMCO) for better maintenance response and efficiency, affirming that the agency has a responsibility to ensure that the serviceable state of the road is not only maintained but also enhanced.