Five members of the Oke-Oroma community in Edo State were detained by security personnel at the National Museum in Benin on Thursday after they protested the state government’s demolition of their homes.
One of the protesters who spoke to newsmen said a combined team of security agencies made up of Department of States Service and policemen stormed the venue with three hilux vehicles, two prado Jeeps, armoured tank, and machine guns after the protest.
The source who spoke on condition of anonymity said the protesters were in the museum premises to round off the protest when the security men swooped on them.
He said the five persons include one Comrade Ojo Collins and four others. He said they were yet to know where the arrested persons were taken to.
The people of Oke-Oroma community as well as land developers had on Thursday morning took to the streets to protest against the demolitions of their properties and alleged forcefully annexation of the land by the state government.
Besides the indigenes and the victims of the demolition, traditionalists also took part in the peaceful protest under the watch of security agencies.
The traditionalists cladded in red attires, carried clay pot filled with substances and a chicken to add an impetus to the seriousness of the protest; masquerades were also not left out in the protest.
The protest, however, resulted to gridlock around the ever busy Ovorawmen square, popularly knowns as Ring road, Airport road, Sapele road as well as the adjoining streets.
Speaking at the protest, Comrade Emmanuel Aigbogun, the Public Relations Officer for Talakawa Parliament, Madam Inibokun Monday, Mr. Terry Ilevbare, Monday Edo Omorogiuwa, and Madam Inibokun Monday accused the Edo State government of disobeying the court.
They claimed that an Edo High Court, presided over by Vestee Eboreime in Benin City, had prevented the state government and its representatives from occupying their disputed land on August 4, 2022, pending the outcome of the substantive suit.
They noted that the state government that was supposed to obey court orders was now acting otherwise, stating that the government cannot be a judge in its own case.
The protesters who added that the community had been existing for the past 2000 years, urged the state government to produce the documents for acquisition of the 1229 hectares of their land.
The state’s attorney general and commissioner for justice were accused by the protesters of failing to properly advise the state’s government on the potential effects of a court of contempt.
However, they vowed to continue protesting until justice was served regarding the demolition and alleged forcible annexation of their land.