The governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki says his government places public interest above other consideration in deciding ‘land acquisition in Edo State.
He made the clarification on Tuesday at the 2021 Annual Public Lecture series organized by the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Edo State Council in Benin City.
Obaseki, represented by Mr. Crusoe Osagie, Special Adviser on Media projects, declared that the reason behind the acquisition of lands is for the overall benefits of Edo people and not to use the power vested on him by the Land Use Act of 1978 to enrich his pockets.
“The Edo State government does not acquire property for itself, but for the good of the people. So, every decision across such lines is always in the best interest of the state,” the governor added.
Speaking on the theme, “Menace of land grabbing and the threat to public peace”, Dele Igbinedion, a Benin-based human rights activist advocated that the Oba of Benin should be in charge of issuing land documents as it would significantly address the menace of land grabbing in Edo State.
“If you need a document for your land, you go to the palace, just like when you need C-of-O, you go to the state government. In that way, all these miniature documents they are parading will fizzle out and it will take the powers away from the Community heads,” he said.
Igbinedion faulted the governments, through the instrument of the Land Use Act, law enforcement agencies, legal system, leaders of the Communities as some of the issues threatening remedy to the menace of land grabbing.
He disclosed that the Land Use Act has created an avenue for state governors to see themselves as the owners.
Earlier in a remark, Mrs. Nefishetu Yakubu, Chairperson, Correspondents’ Chapel, in her remarks, said the topic is apt amid land-related conflicts so as to eradicate land grabbing which has continued to expose poor people to economic exploitation, untimely death, hunger, violence and the threat to investments and real estate development in the State.
“Though a national challenge, land-related crisis has become endemic in Edo state, a situation that led to the disbandment of the various Community Development Associations (CDAs) by the State government,” she said.
“Sadly, buying a piece of land and developing the property had become a herculean task even after the disbandment of the CDAs due to poor implementation of the relevant laws,” Yakubu added.
The State Commissioner of police, CP. Phillip Ogbadu, represented by the spokesman of Command, SP. Kotongs Bello, delivered a goodwill message on the occasion.
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