From Chika Nnadozie, Benin City
Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has reassured victims of land grabbing in the State that his administration will put an end to land issues while reiterating that the perpetrators of the crime will be made to face the full wrath of the law.
Obaseki gave the reassurance recently at a stakeholders’ engagement on the New Town Acquisition organized by the Ministry of Physical Planning, Housing, Urban and Regional Development in Benin City.
It would be recalled that the issue of land grabbing came to the fore as the State Government took drastic action to reacquire its land for the New Town Project.
The thousand, two hundred and twenty-nine (1,229) hectares of land were acquired in the year 2017. With the recent uproar from some affected persons, the State Government has sustained its enlightenment campaign on what it aims to accomplish in the area.
The Governor in his opening remark said: “If there is no government there would be anarchy”, adding that his administration is committed to creating an environment where there is law and order, to make Edo the pride of the country as well as to encourage investors to invest in the State.
Obaseki emphasized that “nobody will invest in a place where they are not sure of anything” and assured that the government does not have the intention of collecting people’s lands.
He cautioned that his administration will not tolerate the illegal sales of land by land grabbers in the State and maintained that efforts have been put in place to bring the perpetrators to face the wrath of the law as they would be made to repay the money collected from the victims in the communities where the New Town is to be situated.
In a bid to provide succour to the people, he promised that his government will consider returning some of the lands to the victims and compensate those who have done proper documentation of their land with a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O).
In her presentation on the New Town Project, the Commissioner for Physical Planning, Housing, Urban and Regional Development, Ms Isoken Omo, noted that the stakeholders’ meeting became imperative given the wrong perception of the State Government’s action to repossess its land in areas earmarked for the New Town project.