The Benin monarch, His Royal Majesty, Oba Ewuare II, has directed the immediate suspension of his former Chief servant, Roland Ekhoe Ogbebor from his palace in Benin City, Edo State Capital.
Secretary to the Benin Traditional Council, Mr. Frank Irabor disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday without any aversion to justice.
The motive, is to create unhindered investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and police into the petitions against the Ogbebor undergoing trial for alleged graft.
The statement said, Ogbebor was discharged by the traditional ruler in November 2018
Part of the statement reads: “…recently, the EFCC opened investigation on petitions written against Roland Ekhoe Ogbebor, formed Odionwere Omuada who was discharged in November 2018.
“In order to unhindered investigation by EFCC and the police, His Royal Majesty has directed the immediate suspension of Roland Ekhoe Ogbebor from the palace”, the statement said.
A palace source told our Correspondent that the Ogbebor, a power broker who rose to prominence during Oba Erediauwa’s reign, was named as an actor in alleged land grabbing scandals.
In 2021, a Nigerian business man residing in Austria, Mr. Ehiamentalor Victor Benedict, cried out after he was reaped of his N3.5 in a land scam in Edo State.
Ehiamentalor in a petition he filed through his lawyer, Samuel Abasilim, Esq and addressed to the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) zone 5, said his ordeal began in 2019 when he visited Nigeria.
The petition alleged criminal breach of trust and obtaining the sum of N3.5 million by three notable individuals linked to the palace of the Oba of Benin under controversial circumstances.
Ehiamentalor, alleged that one Otasowie Glory introduced Roland Ekhoe Ogbebor to him; and stated categorically that as a Benin palace functionary, Rowland O. Omo-Ogbebor, will locate a 100ft by 200ft parcel of land by the main road at Eyean Community for him to buy.
He stated that he had believed he was in in safe hands without much verification because the allotment paper dated 20/6/2017 which bears a toga of royalty on the land documents.
The petitioner alleged that the allotment paper reads: “From Rowland O. Omo-Ogbebor, Oba of Benin Palace, P. O. Box 1, Benin City, Edo State”.
The petitioner further alleged that Ogbebor thereafter instructed him to pay the sum of N3m to a sterling Bank account and N500, 000 to Otasowie which was followed with a deed of transfer.
Continuing, Benedict alleged that “several weeks after the transaction was concluded, Ogbebor and Otasowie became evasive and no more picking his calls”.
He urged the police to investigate the allegations with a view to bringing the suspects to justice and the total refund of the sum and all expenses incurred.
But Mr. Rowland O. Omo-Ogbebor, denied the allegations, describing it as baseless and unfounded.
He alleged that Mr. Ehiamentalor Victor Benedict is neither known to him nor enter into any transaction with him.