Edo residents lost over N1.5bn to land-grabbers, govt says
…arrests six over ritual activities at workers’ complex
The Edo State Government has restated its commitment to ending the activities of land-grabbers and sanitizing the state’s built environment, decrying that residents have lost over N1.5bn to land-grabbers in the state.
The Edo State Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Chris Nehikare, disclosed this to journalists in Benin City, on Friday.
He said the government has arrested six mischief makers who in the guise of a protest stormed the Edo State Secretariat at Sapele Road, Benin City, armed with dangerous weapons and charms, threatening the lives of workers and others at the complex.
The Commissioner said the mischief makers claimed they are from the Irhirhi axis where the government is developing a new town, noting that the government will not relent in its commitment to rid the state of land-grabbers.
Nehikhare said, “Yesterday, we had some protesters who stormed the secretariat complex; they came in a rowdy manner threatening staff of the state government for doing their work and implementing government’s policies and programmes.
“These protesters started performing rituals, killing animals inside the premises of Edo State Government Secretariat in a threatening manner with dangerous weapons.
“They claimed they were from the Irhirhi-axis where government land was being sold off by land grabbers and government reclaimed it to build a new town.
“We had a full day last week for victims of land grabbing as we had a stakeholders’ meeting for victims to discuss with the government and we had a productive discussion.
“Land grabbers are fighting back and luckily for us, six people were arrested and they are already being prosecuted; they may have gone to Court or may be appearing in Court on Monday.”
He continued: “Government policies must be obeyed. It’s what keeps the society different from the animal kingdom. What the government did was to retrieve its stolen properties as the government wants to create a new town in the area.
“The land grabbers have made over N1. 5 billion from their victims. Now, they are threatening the government and its staff, and come to the secretariat doing rituals in an attempt to threaten the peace of the state.”
The Commissioner decried, “We were really disappointed with the action of the so-called protesters who came threatening the lives of civil servants in the state and going to Block C where the Ministry of Physical Planning, Housing, Urban and Regional Development is sited. We will not tolerate such acts anymore.”