By Ozioruva Aliu
BENIN CITY – THE Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has criticized the state governor, Godwin Obaseki on the demolition of buildings along the Irhirihi-Arougba-Obazagbon-Ogheghe axis of the state capital accusing the governor of hiding under the guise of building a new town to take over the area.
The party also faulted the state government’s claim that the area has over the years been acquired by the government and known as Ogba Forest Reserve but still went ahead to issue Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) to genuine buyers.
A statement yesterday by the state chairman of the party, Col David Imuse (rtd) said the demolition was a resumption of Obaseki’s policy “of demolishing public and private properties of innocent citizens, his perceived enemies and members of the opposition party in the State.
“As a party, we condemn in strong terms these illegal demolitions by the jittery and rudderless PDP-led administration in the state; we see this policy of regularly demolishing public and private properties by the Obaseki-led Edo state government as irrational, evil and undemocratic.
“Yet before this land was forcefully acquired by the same government in 2017, it was the world renowned Ogba River Forest Reserve, which successive governments before Obaseki used for reforestation purposes.
“It was also a natural park, one with a lot of tourism prospects, which a responsible government would have considered developing.
“It is very ironic that the same government which destroyed the private estates within the Ogba River Forest Reserve by removing the buildings even when many of them were occupied by families with children and the elderly, is the same that gave Certificates of Occupancy to many of the developers in the communities. The worst of all is that the government chose to carry out this very anti-people action while many cases on the matter were pending in the law courts.”
The Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Chris Nehikhare had said that the area was acquired by the state government to develop a new City and that all the developers on the area were on illegal missions as the state government has since 2017 acquired the area which has been put in the gazette.