Connect with us


Edo Govt, APC, Trade Words Over Alleged Land-grabbing, Demolition Of Houses



By Joseph Kanjo

The Edo State Government and the main opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, in the state have continued to trade words over the manner at which the state government demolished several buildings along Irhirihi-Arougba-Obazagbon-Ogheghe axis of the state capital.

Recall that the Godwin Obaseki-led government had September 29,2022, rolled out Caterpillars to take over a portion of land measuring1229 hectares along the Irhirhi-Obazagbon-Ogheghe Road in Oredo Local Government Area of the  state for the development of a new town.

The government claimed that the land was acquired in 2017 for a new town project but had been encroached upon by land speculators, adding that the area repossessed used to be a forest reserve at the time of the acquisition.

Reacting to the action by the state government, state Chairman of the APC, Col. David Imuse (Rtd), critised the state government, just as he further accused Obaseki of hiding under the guise of building a new town to take over the area.

READ ALSO: Edo APC Knocks Obaseki Over Demolition Of Houses

The APC Chairman faulted the state government’s claim that the area had 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.

According to him, 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.”

Imuse continued: “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.”

But in an apparent response to the APC’s stance on the demolition by the state government, Special Adviser to the Edo State Governor on Media Projects, Crusoe Osagie, lambasted the state’s chapter of the APC for faulting the government’s action.

Crusoe, in a statement issued on Monday and titled ‘Edo APC leaders are the land-grabbers in Edo’, a copy of which was made available to newsmen, noted that the party and its leaders are afraid because they are the main culprits in the illegal enterprise and are scared that they will be caught in the web as the exercise progresses.

Osagie, in the statement said the party has no moral authority to speak on the matter as they are the land-grabbers.

He said, “The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State are jittery over the determination of Governor Godwin Obaseki to end land-grabbing in Edo State because they are the land-grabbers.

READ ALSO: JUST IN: Edo Govt Imposes 24-hour Curfew In Obazagbon, Ogheghe Communities

“The party and its leaders are throwing tantrums today over the repossession exercise in Irhirhi-Obazagbon-Ogheghe Road because while they held office, the APC and its chieftains promoted the appropriation of community land with the use of non-state actors and overlords, who in the run-up to the 2020 Edo State Governorship election were popularly known as lions and tigers.

“This was one of the major reasons why Governor Obaseki parted ways with the APC, chiefly due to such ideological differences.

“These non-state actors, under the APC, superintended over the reign of terror in Edo State, deploying violence to dispossess people of their landed properties and hard-earned money.

“The overlords, mostly leaders of youth groups and members of the disbanded Community Development Associations (CDAs) in the state, reigned supreme and unleashed terror in communities with the active support of the APC.”



Obanikoro Testifies Against Fayose, Says Ex-Ekiti Gov Got N1.2bn For Election




A former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, on Wednesday, narrated to a Federal High Court in Abuja how N1.219bn cash was airlifted to support the election of a former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose.

According to him, the inability of a defunct bank, Diamond Bank, to handle huge amount of money prompted the airlifting of the money.

Fayose and Spotless Investment Limited are standing trial on 11 charges bordering on money laundering and stealing to the tune of N6.9 billion.

Led in evidence by the counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Wahab Shittu (SAN), Obanikoro explained that the money came from the former National Security Adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki (retd.), adding that only he could explain its source.

READ ALSO: Rivers Court Remands Couple Over Alleged N500m Fraud

He added that he only got the information about the money from Dasuki, saying that it was the former NSA who told him that the said money had been paid into the account of Sylvan Mcnamara Limited.

Obanikoro said, “I was a minister under Jonathan’s administration in 2014. Sometime in 2014, we were going to have an election in Ekiti State. I was saddled with the responsibility of coordinating the activities in the election.

“Some days before the election, I got a call from Gov. Fayose asking me if I received any message for him from ONSA, I can recall that prior to that, we had some activities among which was fundraising for that election.”

He also denied taking out the money as speculated in a report by an online media platform.

READ ALSO: Bauchi SEC Approves N300bn 2024 Budget

Obanikoro said, “When Mr. Fayose called, I told him I would call him later. I had a call conversation with the NSA and was told he would get back to me. After, he got back to me that N2.2 billion was paid into the account of Sylvan Mcnamara Lomited..

“The money came came from the NSA. Only the NSA can explain the source of the fund.

The bank lacked the capacity to handle the situation. It was a last-minute decision- to ferry the money to Ekiti.

“I handed over the cash to Agbele for onward delivery to Fayose. I did not take any money or N19 million, contrary to the publication by a Lagos-based online platform.”

READ ALSO: Ondo Crisis Worsens, Assembly Demands Aiyedatiwa’s Resignation

When asked about his relationship with Sylvan Mcnamara Limited, Obanikoro said the account was initially opened to tackle terrorism in Lagos after which it was used to disburse funds for elections.

He said, “The account was created to deal with the issue of Boko Haram in Lagos, the account was created by Taiwo Kareem, and the account was used for the purpose of disbursing funds for election.

“I put a call through to let Fayose know that the money had been paid. Diamond Bank had said it did not have the capacity to make the funds available, so we opted to airlift the fund. The funds were airlifted from Lagos in two tranches, the volume was much.”

After listening to Obanikoro’s testimony, the presiding judge, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba adjourned the case till February 27, 2024.

Continue Reading


Northern Elders Forum Gets New Spokesman




The Northern Elders Forum has appointed Abdul-Azeez Suleiman as its new spokesman, following the exit of Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed.

The PUNCH reports that Baba-Ahmed was appointed by President Bola Tinubu, as the Special Adviser On Political issues in the office of Vice-President Kashim Shettima.

Until his appointment, Suleiman was the spokesman for the Coalition of Northern Groups which comprises over 50 civil society organisations in the 19 northern states and Abuja.

READ ALSO: TVET: Benin Chamber Seeks Policy To Promote Private Sector Participation

NEF’s Convener, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, in the appointment letter he personally signed, said Suleiman’s appointment was a reflection of his contributions towards promoting and protecting the interests of the North and Nigeria.

Abdullahi, a former Vice-Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, said, “I am pleased to inform you that I have approved the recommendation to appoint you as the spokesperson for the Northern Elders Forum.

“Your appointment is a reflection of your unwavering dedication and contributions towards promoting and protecting the interests of the North and Nigeria as a whole, during your time with the Coalition of Northern Groups.

READ ALSO: Rivers Crisis: Call Wike To order, Ijaw Group Tells Tinubu

“Furthermore, your extensive experience in credible, fearless, selfless, and ethical journalism, also contributes to making you a great fit for this role.

“The NEF hopes that you will utilise your exceptional qualities and experience to enhance NEF’s activities and promote its image through cooperation with its directors and other members of the Forum.

“Congratulations on your appointment, and we look forward to the incredible value you will bring to the NEF.”

Continue Reading


Bauchi SEC Approves N300bn 2024 Budget




The Bauchi State Executive Council (SEC) has approved the medium term expenditure of about N300 billion for the 2024 physical year.

Mr Aminu Hammayo, the Bauchi state Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, disclosed this while briefing newsmen on the outcome of the State Executive Council (SEC) meeting on Wednesday.

According to him, the budget estimate was made on the basis of certain assumptions like increase in oil production capacity, increase in Value Added Tax.

READ ALSO: Kano Youths Protest Teenager’s Killing, Police Arrest Killer Cop

Other assumptions he said included the impact of the withdrawal of oil subsidy as there had been an increase in the amount of revenues accrued into the federation account as well as the increase in the cost of goods and services.

“The budget estimate for the year 2024 is about N300 billion and we have a proportion of about 58.8 per cent allocated for capital expenditure and about 41.2 per cent for recurrent expenditure.

“This means the emphasis is basically on capital expenditure so as to generate more revenue in the future.

“This budget estimate is going to be presented as a bill to the state House of Assembly and after the presentation, we will still come back to where there will be a budget briefing to give the details of what the budget is all about,” he said.

READ ALSO: EFCC Warns Nigerians Against ATM Swap Fraudsters

Also speaking, the state Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mr Usman Garba, explained that a decision had been taken to create a Ministry of Regional Integration so that the problems and challenges of the people would further be attended to.

He said that this decision was taken during the Northeast Governors Forum meeting held in Yola, Adamawa state on Saturday.

“Here in Bauchi state, the governor has decided to merge this new ministry with the ministry of Higher Education.

“So, what we have now is the Ministry of Higher Education and Regional Integration,” he said.

Continue Reading