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Tension, as Police arrest activist, 3 others over Bini/Gelegelegbene land dispute

IJAW Peoples Development Initiative, IPDI, a rights group, weekend, raised the alarm that the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, in Edo State apprehended its spokesman, Daniel Ezekiel, and three other persons over the land dispute between Ijaw people of Gele-gelegbene and Benin monarchy.

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National President of the group, Austin Ozobo, in a statement, claimed that two Ijaw ex-militants were working in conjunction with Bini people to arrest his kinsmen in Benin City.

A Bini leader, who responded to the finger pointing against the monarchy, said: “It is wrong for Ijaw groups to be accusing the Oba of Benin every time on matters that affect Gelegele; they should show respect to our king.

“If they have issues among themselves, they should sort it out and not calling on our respected monarch every time.

“From what we heard, it is youth from the area, who they said were former militants that have issues and the Police arrested some persons. How is that the business of the Benin monarchy or should security agents not do their work again because Ijaw people, who are tenants in our land do not want us to have peace?”

However, IPDI asserted: “Our attention has been drawn to another barbaric arrest by Special Anti-Robbery Squad in Edo State; an arrest that is been orchestrated by two ex-militants, who have join the Bini ethnic nationality to keep the Ijaw in the state in perpetual slavery.

“SARS arrested Ezekiel on June 27 together with another two persons at about 10a.m. in Benin city. They denied his lawyer access to him and further arrested another person sent to find out what transpired on Friday, making them four altogether.

“The reason for arrest of Ezekiel and others is unknown, but we gathered that Bini people are using the Police to invite other members of Gelegelegbene community with a view to arrest them.

“This shows that Bini monarchy and the Edo State government do not mean well for Gelegelegbene people because they challenged the attempt by the Oba of Benin to grab their land for the purpose of building an estate.”

Some Egbema natives recently visited the palace of the Oba to distance themselves from the Ijaw indigenes attacking the monarch over the land. But another group disowned the former, saying they were turncoats.

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