The Olodiama Youth Council (OYC), in Edo State has advised the monarch of Benin, Oba Ewuare II against accepting the 300 hectares of land being offered him by Gov. Godwin Obaseki at Gelegele community for the monarch’s proposed housing estate.
The youths, who described the offer as a ‘Greek Gift’, said it was meant to get the monarch to support him as the state gears towards the 2020 governorship election.
While bemoaning the neglect of Ijaw communities in Edo by the state government, the OYC said the present government has consistently acted on issues of Gelegele without consultation with the people of the community.
Spokesman of the OYC, Mr Tari Opobunu vowed that the ljaws in Edo were ready to confront the state government should it continue with the current ugly trend.
“Not too long ago, the government, without prior warning or notice, came to Gelegele with armed soldiers with the intention of occupying the community land under dispute, forcefully.
“In furtherance to this, only recently, they came with armed policemen to again forcefully acquired 300 hectares of land without previous consultation with the people.
“We were told that the intention is to give the land to the Oba for the construction of a housing estate.
“While we are very much ready to welcome any move that will bring positive infrastructural development to our community. We are however against any move where the people concerned are not brought into the picture.
“The fact is that this government treats the Ijaws as if we are not part of Edo State; not only have we been abandoned as a people, we have also failed to see any presence of government in our communities.”
Meanwhile, the state government has denied that there is a plan to forcefully acquire land from Gegelele community.
According to Mr Crusoe Osagie, Special Adviser on Communication and Public Affairs to Gov Obaseki, even though the governor is the proprietor of the land according to the Land Use Act of 1978, the government could not have forcefully acquired the land.
“This is a propaganda, in any case, nobody can forcefully take land,” he said.
However, the Governor’s aide neither denied nor confirmed if the government had actually acquired the 300 hectares of land.
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