Aged farmers in llua village, Ondo west council area of Ondo state, weekend stage mass protest against the alleged sale of their cocoa plantations and other farmlands by the state government to foreign companies.The protesters were led by the traditional ruler of Ilua, Oba Olalani Ibidapo.Displaying placards with various inscriptions, they raised the alarm that the state government had issued them quit notice in all the 20 villages in the area and equally threatened to evacuate them forcefully if they failed to relocate before the end of the year.Chanting “All we are saying, leave us alone,” the inscriptions on their placards reads, “This is another Slavery,” “We say no to the destruction of our cocoa farms,” “No Farmers, No Nation’, “We don’t want to steal, farming is our job,” “Aketi should not sell our lands to Chinese,” “They should leave us here to farm, we have no where to go,” “Cocoa farm is our livelihood, don’t chase us out,” “Cocoa farm is what we live on, don’t sell the lands to China.”Speaking with newsmen, the monarch, Oba Ibidapo, said: “There were some people who came to our villages and started erecting signposts that the state government has sold our farmlands and villages to Chinese and Indian companies.“They said government has issued notice that we should quit our farms and villages because the companies wanted to move in and take over our farms and villages.“We have been here for over 100 years and we are here farming, no other things. I have more than 19 villages under me here, Ilua, Laoso, Adejori, Logunofe, Keseomi, Obadore, Obakele, Ilua 2, Kangidi, Oloruntedo, Abayemisi and Magbaralewon just to mention a few.“We heard suddenly that we should move out unexpectedly. Where are we going to go. Look at our people, no work. We have graduates among us here, but since there’s no job, they ventured into farming.“We are protesting against this policy and we also appeal to our Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu to please consider our situation here. “We are large communities and that’s why state government itself provided health centres, schools and polling units for us here.“We voted for President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and other candidates of All Progressives Congress (APC) in the last general elections. We are more than 50,000 in terms of population.“But I want government to take note that If they insist on ejecting us, there would be problem. Many of the victims would turn to criminals.“Look at youths working on the farm, government should be happy about this development. Look at the crowd.”The Chairman of Youths of Laje community, Laoso District, Ondo West, Akinbami Philip said: “We are begging our governor to rescind this policy and order.“We have graduates who have farms here, we want the government to leave us so that we would continue working on our farms. This is where we feed our families. “Government asked us to pay money and we are faithful to it. Every year, government did give us payment advice, sometimes N3 million and we did pay.“But now, they no longer give us payment advice. The last time we paid to the government coffers was in 2021 because they don’t give us payment advice again.“What we think is that the government wants to sell these lands totally. This would make us suffer. We have started seeing white men coming to the land, we are against this policy.”Another community leader, Prince Francis Adewole, called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to help them prevail on Governor Akeredolu to allow them continue working on their cocoa and plantain farms.“We are begging President Tinubu also to help us appeal to Governor Akeredolu to give us a chance to enjoy what we have laboured for.“We have been here for over 100 years, we have lots of cocoa plantations, plantain farms, kolanuts farms and other crops. We are many here and our only occupation is farming.One of the farmers, a graduate of Physics, Ademola Ajibola, told newsmen that he decided to venture into farming when he couldn’t get a job in the city.Ajibola said: “We are highly surprised by the state government’s action against us. We have been here for many years, I am a graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University, but no job.“Yet I decided to venture into cocoa farming. We do pay to the government our dues till 2021 when we saw some people erecting signpost on our farms.” They said they were given the order to come and destroy our cocoa and other plantations. Where do we go from here?“We have villages all around here, no hideout for bandits or criminals. We are protesting because the government would not let us breathe.“Food security is our watchword here, we sell foods to the people in town. If we are being evacuated from here, I don’t know what might be the result.“But if this policy of leaving here is being carried out, there would be social implications, there would be disaster.”A community leader, Mrs. Faith Akinduro, lamented that instead of being encouraged by the state government for going into farming, the government allegedly wanted to eject them from their farmlands.Akinduro said: “Sometimes last year, we were given notice that some people were being arrested here, so we should leave this place. They are ready to destroy all our properties.“We are not criminals here, we are farmers, we should be encouraged instead of this. We do pay our dues. When it is election period, they do come here and we do vote for them. Why are they claiming that people are not here?“It is a pity, I don’t have anywhere to go, we depend on farm work here, no other work for me. Where do you want over 50,000 people to go? We are doing fine here, they should look into the situation, because if not, we women would carry guns and turn to criminals.”Contacted to comment on the alleged ejection of the farmers, the Senior Special Assistant (Agric & Agribusiness) to the governor, Pastor Akin Olotu, denied the allegations.Olotu, said that state government didn’t issue such quit notice and sale of the farmers farms to anyone or foreign firm.