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Ekiti cargo Airport, Nigeria

The state government of Ekiti, in western Nigeria, sent in bulldozers to clear farmland for an airport. Affected farmers from five villages fought back, organizing a protest and securing a major court victory which halted the project.


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:Land acquisition conflicts
Ports and airport projects
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”.[9]

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Project area:4,000
Level of Investment:US$85.4 million
Type of populationRural
Affected Population: five villages
Start of the conflict:02/10/2015
End of the conflict:22/03/2016
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
Potential: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Conflict outcome / response:Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Project temporarily suspended
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:The affected landowners' suit was successful and the airport project was halted, but the Ekiti state is still planning to construct the airport.
Sources & Materials
Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

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

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

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

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

[10] 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 update18/08/2019
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