The people of Ogbe-Ezoti Community in Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State have appealed to the state governor, Godwin Obaseki, to stop his plans of forcefully and compulsorily acquiring their agelong ancestral and monumental homes in the guise of developing the community.
In the course of a protest march around the city centre and the state government house, the community people said: “His Excellency, Governor Godwin Obaseki is telling us to pack and relocate anywhere of our interest as that is not his concern.
“This said community is home to over 1000 people, their ancestors, generations that have lived for over 300 years and a business hub centre to several businesses, which good and responsible citizens earn their daily source of livelihood, to take care of their homes and families. From these various businesses taxes required by the government are paid.”
Going further, the protesters said: “We do believe that His Excellency, Governor Godwin Obaseki and his group have us believe that they are landgrabbers and want to sell this community, Ogbe-Ezoti, privately to private individuals, otherwise he should go to places that are crying for little and much developments. The attitude of landgrabbing will not be tolerated by Ogbe-Ezoti Community.
“We are not willing and will not sell our homes and we won’t leave the Oba’s Palace defenceless as it has come to our understanding that they are willing to raise structures that are against the tradition and palace and indirectly take over the palace.
“If this is allowed and they succeed they are going to forcefully take over all the homes around the palace and make it an easy target for attack.
“We are of Benin Royal blood and will never abandon our ancestral homes and heritage, or His Royal Majesty Palace, the Oba of Benin Kingdom. We are using this medium to call on all Benins to prevail and defend our lands, tradition, customs and beliefs.”