Residents have lost over N1.5bn to land-grabbers, says Edo Government

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Edo government has estimated the money residents lost to land-grabbers in the state.

In a statement disclosed to journalists in Benin City on Friday, the government said the residents had lost over N1.5bn to a land-grabber in the state.

The state Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Chris Nehikhare, said the government had arrested six mischief makers who in the guise of a protest stormed the state secretariat at Sapele Road, Benin City.

Mr. Nehikhare said the protesters were armed with dangerous weapons and charms, threatening the lives of workers and others at the complex.

The protesters are believed to be residents of the Irhirhi axis, where the government plans to develop a new town.

Nehikhare said, “Yesterday, we had some protesters who stormed the secretariat complex; they came in a rowdy manner threatening the staff of the state government for doing their work and implementing the government’s policies and programs.

“These protesters started performing rituals, killing animals inside the premises of Edo State Government Secretariat in a threatening manner with dangerous weapons.

“They claimed they were from the Irhirhi-axis where government land was being sold off by land grabbers, and the government reclaimed it to build a new town.

“We had a full day last week for victims of land grabbing as we had a stakeholders’ meeting for victims to discuss with the government, and we had a productive discussion.”

Mr. Nehikhare said, “Land grabbers are fighting back, and luckily for us, six people were arrested, and they are already being prosecuted; they may have gone to Court or may be appearing in Court on Monday.”

He continued: “Government policies must be obeyed. It’s what keeps society different from the animal kingdom. What the government did was retrieve its stolen properties as the government wanted to create a new town in the area.

“The land grabbers have made over N1. 5 billion from their victims. Now, they are threatening the government and its staff and come to the secretariat doing rituals in an attempt to threaten the peace of the state.”

The Commissioner decried, “We were really disappointed with the action of the so-called protesters who came threatening the lives of civil servants in the state and going to Block C where the Ministry of Physical Planning, Housing, Urban and Regional Development is sited. We will not tolerate such acts anymore.”

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