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Ekiti cargo Airport, Nigeria

The state government of Ekiti sent in bulldozers to clear farmland for a cargo airport. Affected farmers secured a court victory which stalled the project. Imminent land clearance triggered protest by farmers appealing for time to harvest their produce.


On 2nd October 2015 the state government of Ekiti, in western Nigeria, sent in bulldozers to begin clearing 4,000 hectares of farmland for an airport. Bulldozers ripped down trees and destroyed farmland before compensation, for loss of land and livelihood, had been even discussed with affected farm owners [1]. The Nation Nigeria reported that State Governor Ayo Fayose was pursuing the project with such a ‘frenzy’ that he had failed to even consult with farmers holding customary titles to the land [2]. An oil palm farmer whose plantation was bulldozed, Tijani Hakeem, died, reportedly of shock.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Ekiti cargo Airport, Nigeria
State or province:Ekiti State
Location of conflict:Ado-Ekiti
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Ports and airport projects
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The plan is for a cargo airport to open up Ekiti for development. Farmland was destroyed for an airport that its proponents envisaged would be utilized to export farm produce. The Speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, Kola Oluwawole, stated support for a cargo airport, to open up resources to exploration and to “ensure seamless exportation of agricultural products” [13].

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Project area:4,017
Level of Investment for the conflictive projectUS$85.4 million
Type of populationRural
Affected Population: five villages
Start of the conflict:02/10/2015
Relevant government actors:Ekiti State Government
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local government/political parties
Forms of mobilization:Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Food insecurity (crop damage), Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Global warming, Noise pollution
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Deaths
Potential: Malnutrition
Other Health impactsTen farmers died, reportedly of 'shock' caused by destruction of their farmland and ensuing economic loss[5]
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Specific impacts on women
Potential: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Project temporarily suspended
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:The affected landowners' suit was successful and the Ekiti cargo airport project was halted. But the project was re-instigated and land clearance is imminent. This has triggered protest from farmers within the area allocated for the project who fear they may not have time to harvest their produce.
Sources & Materials

[1] Nigerian farmers win High Court victory in fight against Ekiti airport, The Ecologist, 8 April 2016
[click to view]

[2] My airport bigger than yours, The Nation, 21 October 2015
[click to view]

[3] Fayose suspends Ekiti airport project, The Nation, 13 October 2015
[click to view]

[4] General Fayose’s airport project a drain pipe – APC, Daily Trust, 23 September 2015
[click to view]

[5] Farmers protest over government airport project in Ekiti, Daily Post, 20 January 2016
[click to view]

[6] Court Asks Fayose To Stay Action On Airport Project, News Herald, 23 March 2016
[click to view]

[7] New Ekiti Airport, Centre for Aviation (CAPA)
[click to view]

[8] Why Ekiti airport project failed – Afe Babalola, Fayose, Vanguard, 26 January 2018
[click to view]

[9] Ekiti communities reject proposed cargo airport project...Allege govt's destruction of cash crops, The Sun Nigeria, 05/11/2020
[click to view]

[10] Cargo Airport: Ekiti pays N500m in compensation to 700 land owners, WorldStage15/03/2021
[click to view]

[11] cargo-airport-ekiti-communities-reject-compensations-from-government, Nigeria Newspapers Online, 16/03/2021
[click to view]

[12] Airport Project: Give Us More Time To Harvest Our Produce, Ekiti Farmers Beg Fayemi, Independent Nigeria, 15/03/2021
[click to view]

[13] Airport will open up Ekiti –Speaker, The Eagle Online, 11 September 2015
[click to view]

[14] 14 states spend N250bn on abandoned, unviable airport projects – Investigation, The Point, 30 June 2017
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

2nd October 2015 - Commissioner for Works of Ekiti State, interviewed about procurement of 4,000 hectares of land for Ekiti Airport, bulldozers remove trees in the background
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Rose Bridger, Stay Grounded, email: [email protected]
Last update29/08/2018
Conflict ID:3676
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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