Over 100 buildings in the communities of Irhirihi, Arougba, Obazagbon, and Ogheghe have been demolished as a result of land reclamation in Benin, which has sparked a verbal battle between the All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party in Edo State.
In a statement released on Monday, the chairman of the APC, Col. David Imuse (ret.) accused the state government of hiding behind the construction of a new town in order to annex the region.
The party also disputed the state government’s assertion that it had long since acquired the area and named it the Ogba Forest Reserve, but it still went ahead and issued Certificates of Occupancy to legitimate purchasers.
He said, “As a party, we condemn in strong terms these illegal demolitions by the jittery and rudderless PDP-led administration in the state. We see this policy of regularly demolishing public and private properties by the Obaseki-led government as irrational, evil and undemocratic.
“Before this land was forcefully acquired by the same government in 2017, it was the world-renowned Ogba River Forest Reserve, which successive governments before Obaseki used for reforestation purposes.”
However, the Special Adviser to the Edo State Governor on Media Projects, Crusoe Osagie, has lambasted the APC state chapter for faulting the government’s determination to end land-grabbing in the state.
He noted that the party and its leaders were afraid because they were the main culprits in the illegal enterprise and were scared that they would be caught in the web as the exercise progresses.
He said, “The APC in the state is jittery over the determination of Governor Obaseki to end land-grabbing in Edo, because they are the land-grabbers.
“The party and its leaders are throwing tantrums today over the repossession exercise in Irhirhi-Obazagbon-Ogheghe Road because while they held office, the APC and its chieftains promoted the appropriation of community land with the use of non-state actors and overlords, who in the run-up to the Edo State governorship election in 2020 were popularly known as lions and tigers.
“Obaseki parted ways with the APC, chiefly due to such ideological differences.”