Edo: Okada Leaders Battle Chief Igbinedion Over Land

By Walid Ogunseri- Benin City

The end to the age long land dispute between Chief Gabriel Igbinedion, the Esama of Benin Kingdom and his community Okada appears not in sight if recent development is anything to go by.

Some elders of the community has recently demanded stringent conditions to end the dispute, but close watchers of events in the state say this will further polarize the feuding parties.

According to a document issued by the community outlining 14 conditions to end the protracted dispute, which was signed by the Odionwere of Okada village, Pa Napoleon Emuze, Pa Oghogho Oviawe and Pa Agbonavbare Erhabor, all senior members of Okada Elders’ Council, they demanded that Chief Igbinedion refute claim by Lucky Igbinedion, a former governor of the state that Okada belongs to his father.

The rebuttal, the Elders said must be published in a national newspaper.

Other demands by the community includes “That Igbinedion University’s claim of 134.324 hectares as her land was also false.

Chief Igbinedion Should hands off the land earmarked for International Golf Course opposite his hospital.

He should hands off the land earmarked for the government proposed 500 unit of low cost housing estate (by Okha/Usen Junction).

He should hands off the village land earmarked for the building of Airport – Land space to Ezenekhi

Chief Igbinedion should hands off 1,100 feet land behind the NYSC Orientation Camp.

He should handover the certificate of Registration of Okada cooperative Association in his possession to the village.”

Other conditions include that Chief Igbinedion to “handover the World Bank borehole project to Okada village which is currently being used by Esama alone to Okada

The Fish Pond project by UNDP for Okada Village converted by Esama to his personal use to be handed over to Okada.

That he should remove the fence in the backyard of all the houses from Iyaro to the end of the city which makes it impossible for the owners to build toilets or kitchens while some toilets and kitchens were fenced within his yard.

That Chief Igbinedion should replace the building and sawmill, cash crops (cocoa, palm trees, orange trees, pear, cassava) he maliciously destroyed in Okada).”

The Elders are also demanding the “handover of the control of Banks (First Bank, Zenith Bank, Sterling and Access Bank), Network providers (Glo, MTN, 9mobile) which pay Royalty annually to him alone, to Okada village.

That he should remove his University away from Okada village land entirely and he should henceforth stop his harassment and intimidation of anybody building or carrying out any development in the village with police or any other security agency.”

Meanwhile, keen watchers of the timeworn dispute told the magazine that it would be difficult for the Esama to meet the demands of the angry Elders.

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