By Ozioruva Aliu
BENIN CITY – EDO state government, Thursday justified Tuesday’s demolition of the property of the immediate past deputy governor of the state, Dr. Pius Odubu and those of Professor Julius Ihonvbere, former Secretary to the State Government, SSG and Mike Itemuagbon, sports promoter, saying that the properties were recovered for the use of the state after their Certificates of Occupancy (C-of-O) were revoked alongside that of Governor Godwin Obaseki.
A statement by the Secretary to State Government (SSG) Osarodion Ogie Esq. stated that the C of Os of the properties were revoked on December 21, 2020 because they were gifted out as parting gifts by the immediate past governor of the stat, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole , to former political office holders, companies and private individuals.
The statement said those were the only properties owned by the state government in GRA before they were gifted out which he said would have created fresh burden on government buying land from the public if it needs them from development in future.
He said: “On December 21, 2020, the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, revoked the Certificates of Occupancy (C-of-O) of 11 government properties within the Government Reserved Area (GRA) which were allotted to former political office holders, companies and private individuals as parting gifts on the eve of the exit of former Governor Adams Oshiomhole from office. One of the properties was allocated to Governor Obaseki and was also revoked”, the statement read.
The statement said since the C of Os of the properties were revoked they automatically reverted to the original owner that is the government so the persons occupying the said properties were doing so illegally and as trespassers.
“It is instructive to note that one of the properties in question to which a former Deputy Governor of the state, Dr. Pius Odubu, lays claim is actually the official Lodge of the Secretary to the State Government of Edo State (SSG). The implication of this is that all SSGs after Comrade Adams Oshiomhole’s administration will not have an official residence”, the state government reiterated.
The statement debunked the insinuations that the government embarked “on the recovery of the properties out of vendetta, the truth is that these are the only remaining properties in the GRA that belong to the state government. If they are allowed to be taken over by these private individuals, it means that when the government wants to embark on any project within the GRA, it will have to resort to purchasing from the open market”.
It assured that “the governor has a fiduciary responsibility to protect and act in the best interest of the people of Edo State and will never betray the public trust they have reposed in him”.