The reclamation of land in Benin has led to the demolition of over 100 buildings in Irhirihi, Arougba, Obazagbon, and Ogheghe communities and has resulted in a war of words between the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State.
The APC, in a statement on Monday, by its chairman, Col. David Imuse (retd.), accused the state government of hiding under the guise of building a new town to take over the area.
The party also faulted the state government’s claim that the area had over the years been acquired by the government and known as Ogba Forest Reserve, but still went ahead to issue a Certificate of Occupancy to genuine buyers.
He said, ‘As a party, we condemn in strong terms these illegal demolitions by the jittery and rudderless PDP-led administration in the state. We see this policy of regularly demolishing public and private properties by the Obaseki-led government as irrational, evil, and undemocratic.
‘Before this land was forcefully acquired by the same government in 2017, it was the world-renowned Ogba River Forest Reserve, which successive governments before Obaseki used for reforestation purposes.’
However, the Special Adviser to the Edo State Governor on Media Projects, Crusoe Osagie, has lambasted the APC state chapter for faulting the government’s determination to end land-grabbing in the state.
He said, ‘The APC in the state is jittery over the determination of Governor Obaseki to end land-grabbing in Edo, because they are the land-grabbers.
‘The party and its leaders are throwing tantrums today over the repossession exercise in Irhirhi-Obazagbon-Ogheghe Road because while they held office, the APC and its chieftains promoted the appropriation of community land with the use of non-state actors and overlords, who in the run-up to the Edo State governorship election in 2020 were popularly known as lions and tigers.
‘Obaseki parted ways with the APC, chiefly due to such ideological differences.’
He noted that the party and its leaders were afraid because they were the main culprits in the illegal enterprise and were scared that they would be caught in the web as the exercise progresses.