Activists and stakeholders have condemned the alleged criminal possession of a landed property belonging to a female teacher, by the Ohen (chief priest) of Okhuoromi.
According to a video circulating the social media, the teacher, whose voice was heard in the video crying for justice, her building on a 50×100 parcel of land in Okhuoromi has been fenced round for dispossession by the Ohen of Okhuoromi, Ovbokhan Igbinovia Kelvin.
She accused the chief priest (Ohen of Okuoromi) of wanting to take her land and the building inside after selling same to her as stipulated in an attached document carrying the thumbprint signature of the Ohen of Okhuoromi. The yet to be identified lady cried out for help.
Speaking on the matter, the president of One Love Foundation, Chief Patrick Osagie Eholor condemned the act in its entirety if its true and called for an urgent intervention by the state government.
Hailing the governor on the recent signing of the anti-land grabbing Bill into law, he said that the case of the Ohen and the school teacher would be the first litmus test to show that the law has truly become effective in the state. He therefore appealed to Governor Godwin Obaseki not to relent in his bow to protect the ordinary citizens and ensure that a few elements in the state do not shut down the gains of democratic rule through intimidation and high-handedness.
Eholor, who is otherwise known as Ultimate Equals also appealed to the Oba of Benin to penalise any Ohen of Enogie’s by dispossesing them of titles and position, since they has resorted to using their power and position against the people they ought to protect.
Also speaking, the President of Benin Solidarity Movement BSM Worldwide, Elder Comrade (Ambassador) Curtis Eghosa Ugbo said the Ohen has stepped out of line, and must be severely penalised for his actions.
He therefore said that BSM cannot condone such level of disrespect by the Ohen to the Great Benin Kingdom, and call on the Royal Father-Oba of Benin to immediately suspend the Ohen as a chief priest in Benin Kingdom for bringing disrepute to the Kingdom.
He also also called on the Edo State Government led by Governor Godwin Obaseki to as a matter of urgency activate the new land grabbing Law against the chief priest, as failure to so do will show that the Edo State Government should not be taken seriously.
The BSM also promised to support the victim fully to resist the Ohen from taking the said landed property she suffered to build over the years.
Also speaking on the matter, the immediate Past Press Secretary of Ikpoba-Okha LG Eseosa Ewere described the Ohen’s actions as unholy and totally condemnable.
He described the now proscribed culture of land grabbing as unfortunate, as it only targets the poor, helpless, hapless, uninfluential and unconnected in the Benin.
Calling on Governor Obaseki to intervene, he posited “Mr. Governor, the need to wade in to practically stop this madness cannot now be overemphasized, as many citizens and land developers with genuine intentions are now looking to other areas outside Edo for development; by extension, Your Excellency, a situation where a piece of land sold to a potential land developer is resold to another buyer and that same land is renegotiated for sale to a third bidder cannot be said to contribute in any way to the socio-economic development of our dear Edo State.
“Okhuoromi Community remains in the forefront of underhand land dealings in Benin, majority of which are traced to the Ohen, there has been series of demolitions of developed properties by same, discouraging indigenous investments at the home front; furthermore, the Ohen’s unorthodox actions as it concerns some properties in the Okhuoromi necessitated the recent suspension of sand supplies to most communities in Benin by the tipper drivers association
“I wish to inform you, that good-spirited individuals drawn from various sectors of society viz: civil society, NBA, property developers, academics, business, religion and land-grabbing victims etc, have commenced arrangement for a city-wide peaceful protest against these acts.
“Your Excellency should expeditiously activate the newly-reviewed PPP law 2021 on Okhuoromi to serve as a deterrent to others who brazenly disregard state laws and by extension dispense justice to victims whose lands has been violently grabbed and buildings wickedly demolished”, he stated.