Scores of deaf and dumb persons yesterday staged a peaceful protest against what they called “illegal acquisition of 20 acres from 39 acres of their land by the Oyo State government”.
The protest was led by the National Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of Christian Mission for the Deaf, Mr. Silas Ike.
The chairman said the mission bought 39 acres of land on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway in 2004 with a plan to build the first special university for the deaf and dumb in the country and Africa on it.
The protesters stormed the Agodi government secretariat carrying placards with various inscriptions, such as: “We need more than 39 acres for the proposed university”; “We want our land for proposed university”; “Please, do not oppress the deaf”; “Do not resettle people on our land” and “We bought our land with donations from people.”
Others read: “The deaf have rights to live better life”; “We need our land for school”; “Oyo State government should not forcefully occupy the deaf’s land”; “We need our land for vocational training and deaf university” and “The deaf are helpless, please.”
But Oyo State Commissioner for Land and Housing, Mr. Isaac Omodewu, who addressed the protesters, assured them that he would meet the governor, who he said was out of the state, on the matter.
He assured the protesters of facilitating a meeting with their representative in the next one week.
Addressing reporters after the protest, Ike described the action of the commissioner as “good enough for us, at least somebody is listening to us”.