We Have 10,000 Petitions Against Land Grabbers In Edo – Edo Youths, Accuse Palace Chiefs Of Compromise
Edo State youths under the umbrella body of Concerned Citizens of Edo State have raized concern that some Palace chiefs working within the inner circle of the Palace of the Benin Monarch, Oba Ewuare II are conniving and aiding land grabbing in the state.
The group in a press conference during the week said it has received over 10,000 petitions from various victims against land grabbers in Edo state.
The Concerned Edo Citizens said the group submitted the 10,000 petitions to the Edo State Government through the office of the Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu for appropriate action.
The press statement as signed by its Co-ordinator, Kelly Osunbor
amongst others and made available by human rights activist, Kola Edokpayi, indicated that both traditional rulers closer to the Palace of the Benin Monarch, government functionaries, police officers and lawyers were found to be conniving and aiding land grabbing in Edo state.
It would be recalled that at the coronation thanksgiving speech, the Oba of Benin, Omo’N Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewaure II disbanded the deadly Community Development Association in various community in the state, demanded an end to land grabbing or characters that can discourage investors in the state.
Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki thereafter threw government weight behind the Oba pronouncement and criminalized the activities of the deadly CDAs.
The group statement reads thus:
Full text of today’s World Press Conference against land-grabbing and associated illegal land deals in Edo by Concerned Citizens of Edo State, Monday 23rd, August, 2021.
The Concerned Citizens of Edo State – a pressure group that draws huge membership from all walks of life including, but not limited to political, entertainment, religious, economic, academic etc, today presents a world press conference to forge a new direction for land administration and regulations in Edo State; this becomes necessary in the face of incessant evil and draconic acts of land-grabbing, illegal encroachment, crass demolition of developed properties by community leaders, sales of a parcel to multiple persons and other underhand land deals in our dear State, which has no doubt plagued and hindered meaningful development and investment drive in Edo State.
As a group that draws membership from across the board, we have received more than ten thousand (10,000) petitions (hard and soft copies) from victims of illegal land deals occurring in various communities in Edo State, particularly Benin City, since we staged the anti-land grabbing protest a fortnight ago, Monday 9th August, 2021 precisely, during which some of these petitions were submitted on behalf of victims to the Deputy Governor of Edo State, Right Honourable, Comrade Philip Shaibu who in his statement affirmed that the Edo State Government will come heavily on land-grabbers irrespective of their position or class; we wish to state clearly and unequivocally that the campaign now spearheaded by good-spirited Edos at home and abroad is bigger than any individual and so must not be seen as a witch hunt against a particular individual or group, but it is a conscious, focus, deliberate, result-oriented and directional movement conceptualized to consolidate on the efforts of the Godwin Obaseki-led administration in the fight against devious, demonic and devilish acts of land-grabbing and by extension open up hitherto closed areas of the State to indigenous/local and foreign investors who may have long been scared off by the unpopular tendencies in our communities.
We wish to condemn in very strong terms the action of the Police deployed to the Museum Ground on the day of our mass movement; on sighing them at the early hours of the day, we had joy in our hearts only for them to lock up the Museum gates preventing the Speaker of the House and hundreds of peaceful protesters from carrying out their legitimate activities; we believe that the Commissioner of Police, Edo State Command, Philip Ogbadu cannot be unaware of this unpopular development as we were told that the order to lock-in Mr. Speaker and us came from above; however, the gates were opened after much intervention; shockingly, the Commissioner of Police has not deem it fit to reach out to this group to at least show some remorse for the crass display of unprofessionalism by his men; we are watching.
We are aware that the 2017 Private Properties Protection Law signed by the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki was largely inefficacious in dealing decisively with land criminals, hence the need for an amendment in 2021; believably the PPP Law 2021 (as amended) with several superlative ingredients attached for effective justiceable dispensation will be able to deal decisively with criminal elements who have mastered the evil act of land-grabbing and sales of a piece to multiple persons scaring off investors who may be willing to join in Edo’s economic expansion and by extension causing physical, psychological and emotional trauma in land developers, leading sometimes to unsolicited death.
We are also aware that the Edo State House of Assembly investigative committee inaugurated by the Speaker to wade into the land fiasco between the Ohen of Okhuoromi, Ovbokhan Kelvin Igbinovia and the Psychiatric Hospital Co-operative Society has had her first sitting where the Ohen and his representatives alongside the Co-operative Society and their representatives were physically present; while we commend the Speaker of the House, Right Honourable Marcus Onobun for joining in the Monday 9th protest and his proactive response to the yearnings and cries of the poor, oppressed and suppressed with the prompt inauguration of the Committee, it is expected that the Agbaje-led Committee will fearlessly uphold the ideas of truth and justice and ensure that poor, voiceless and unconnected members of the Edo public who have been severely boxed to the corner by land-grabbers get justice and the criminal elements who daily flout established laws face the full wrath of the law.
We are deeply independent to our highly revered Oba for his stand against the draconic CDA in 2016; however we are not unaware of the connivance of top traditional functionaries, a good number of whom operate from the inner chambers of the Palace of our highly revered Oba; these functionaries constantly massage the backs of land-grabbers to ease their stock-in-trade; these functionaries often times go as far as using the Omo n’Oba’s name to execute such disgraceful and criminal trade; we do not want to believe that our highly revered Oba is aware of this ugly development, hence little or no action has been taken to correct the dastardly act; we strongly believe that following these revelations, the Omo n’Oba n’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare II, Oba of Benin will rise up to the task of protecting those he swore to defend upon taking over the mantle of Obaship in 2016; we must forbid and punish elements who deploy the instrumentalities of our traditional institution to perpetrate evil against hardworking Edos.
It is sad that persons in the name of Oka-egheles, Ohens and the likes who ought to defend, promote and protect our rich cultural heritage in their various communities continue to deploy the instrumentalities of their traditional regalia to stifled people; the Benin Traditional Council (BTC) and Oba Palace must rise up in this regards to properly scrutinize the character dispositions of persons they wish to throw in the forefront as traditional representatives; the Palace and the Edo State Government must develope practical and effective measures to manage and regulate lands in communities; those who transmogrified from the deadly CDA to Ohens, exporting same destructive tendencies into Ohenship and their sponsors must not be allowed to thrive in their deadly, dangerous and unorthodox methodologies in the regulation and management of lands in communities.
More worrisome is the revelation as to the huge support and patronage land-grabbers get from supposed political and traditional leaders; even security operatives, legal practitioners have been found to connive with land-grabbers in their devilish tendencies, hence this movement, despite been conceptualized by a few patriots, has within a short time, become a mass movement of Edo people against land-grabbing and other underhand land dealings, reason cannot be unconnected with the fact that many homes have turned out at one time or the other to be victims of this evil acts and this cannot be seen to thrive in our State with a vibrant political and traditional institutions; we respectfully ask that these institutins must now rise up and punish land-grabbers, their sponsors to at least send a strong signal to persons who think they are sacred cows and cannot be punished no matter how many Edo homes they steal from.
Except we are unwilling to fix the rot in our communities, then we may continue to pay lip service to critical issues otherwise, our people still have some level of confidence in the resolve of government to practicably apply the instruments of the law in building a decent land regulatory system; that notorious land-grabbers with a bag of complaints from their victims hanging on their necks still gallivant freely on the streets of Benin with a disposition of “nothing dey happen” leaves one wondering how prepared the government and other relevant authority is in fighting such evil in our State.
We strongly believe that the PPP Law 2021 (as amended) will suffice in dealing with issues of lands and properties in Edo State, unlike its 2017 counterpart that was more like a toothless bulldog; we must as a people present our communities in good light if we must attract relevant economic giants; Edo has gotten to that stage technologically, politically, economically, culturally and otherwise, where systems must be seen to be effective, meeting popular demands for effective service delivery; we cannot be different and the time to make that is now as we say and affirmative NO to land-grabbing and other unpopular land deals in Edo State.
Conclusively, we have in the last two (2) weeks, received thousands of petitions and are still receiving more, we will continue to transmit these petitions to the appropriate authority to ensure that victims of land-grabbing gets the desired justice and attention; we are also following the House of Assembly investigative committee to ensure that the right thing is done; believably, this struggle as sparked up by the Concerned Citizens of Edo State at home and abroad, will pathfind justiceable and global best methodologies towards lands and property regulations and management in Edo State; people must be able to purchase lands and develop with their two eyes closed, that is the Edo we yearn for; more importantly, the Palace and Government must develop practicable policies and programmes to protect the rights of property developers whether they reside in Edo or outside; this is our stand.
Signed: Comrade Kelly Osunbor,
Co-ordinator, Alfred Odion Uyinosa, Deputy Co-ordinator, Eseosa Ewere, Secretary, Stanley Osazee, Public Relations Officer, Kola Edokpayi, Director, Strategy and Mobilization, Agho P Blessing, Deputy Director, Strategy and Mobilization, Mr. Semi Eriyo, Co-ordinator, US Zone, Lion Austin Ehanire, Co-ordinator, Italy Zone, Mrs. Cynthia Emokpae, Director, Strategy and Mobilization, US Zone, Stephen Eriamiantoe, Co-ordinator, Sweden Zone, Friday Aimuanmwosa Osazuwa, Director, Security and Contacts, Italy Zone.
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