Ondo State Government Denies Court Order on Cocoa Farms Grading

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Ondo State Government Denies Court Order on Cocoa Farms Grading
Ondo State Denies Receiving Court Papers for Cocoa Farms Grading Dispute

In a recent development, the Ondo State government has refuted claims that it has been served with a court order regarding the grading of cocoa farms in the Oluwa Forest Reserve, specifically in the Odigbo council area of the state. This denial was conveyed through a statement issued by the Director-General of the Ondo State Performance and Project Monitoring Implementation Unit (PPIMU), Babajide Akeredolu.

To clarify the situation further, Olumide Olujimi, the Solicitor of PPIMU from Olujimi & Akeredolu Legal Practitioner & Notaries Public, distanced Babajide Akeredolu from the lawsuit initiated by the farmers concerning the grading of their cocoa farms.

In a previous report, the farmers’ counsel in the Oluwa Forest Reserve, Tope Temokun, had announced that the farmers would initiate contempt proceedings against the Managing Director of SAO Agro-Allied Services Limited, Ayo Sotinrin, after filing Form 48. Temokun further stated that the farmers had filed a motion to include Babajide Akeredolu, who was responsible for issuing directives on the grading of the cocoa farmers’ plantations, along with SAO Agro-Allied Services Limited, despite the existence of a court order halting their activities.

In response to these allegations, Olumide Olujinmi, the counsel representing PPIMU, issued a statement asserting that Babajide Akeredolu had not received any court papers related to the matter or any other matter, and was unaware of any specific details or claims made against him, if there were any.

The statement from Olumide Olujinmi read as follows: “We are solicitors to Babajide Akeredolu, hereafter referred to as our client under whose express instructions we write. Our client’s attention has been drawn to the recent allegations and media reports regarding the grading of cocoa farms in Oluwa Forest Reserve in Odigbo Local Government Area of Ondo State.”

Olujinmi continued, “It is reported that a firm, SAO Agro-Allied Services Limited, is allegedly involved in the continued grading of the farmlands, despite a previous court order. Our client has not been served with any court papers related to this matter or any other matter. As of now, we are not aware of the specific details and claims being made against our client, if any.”

He assured the public, stating, “However, we want to assure the public that our client is fully committed to upholding the rule of law and cooperating with the legal process when served with any court papers. We understand that there are concerns regarding the role of our client as the Director-General of the Ondo State Performance and Project Monitoring Implementation Unit (PPIMU). While he takes his responsibilities seriously, it is important to note that he does not have direct control or involvement in the grading of the cocoa farmers’ plantations.”

Olujinmi emphasized, “Our client’s role primarily revolves around overseeing project monitoring and implementation across the state. We want to emphasize that once our client is officially served with the court papers, he will engage his legal team to prepare an appropriate response. Our client is eager to clear all misgivings and rumors surrounding this issue, and he will do the needful when served with court papers.”

Furthermore, the statement addressed the concerns of the farmers, stating, “Our client acknowledges the farmers’ concerns and the importance of protecting their interests. He also believes in fair and transparent processes. He believes legal proceedings will provide an opportunity for all parties, including himself, to present their respective cases and evidence.”

The Solicitor added, “Our client is firmly of the position that the truth will prevail, and he remains committed to the principles of justice and the well-being of the people of Ondo State.”

As the situation unfolds, it is expected that Babajide Akeredolu will respond accordingly once served with the court papers, and the legal process will determine the outcome of this dispute.

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