Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has justified his late Tuesday demolition of the property of the immediate past deputy governor of the state, Dr. Pius Odubu, saying that the Certificates of Occupancy (C-of-O) of the property were revoked alongside that of his own (Obaseki’s).
The Governor also demolished the properties of Professor Julius Ihonvbere, former Secretary to the State Government, SSG and Mike Itemuagbon, sports promoter.
Justifying the action on Thursday, Obaseki, in a statement signed by Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Mr. Osarodion Ogie, stated that the C of Os of the properties were revoked on December 21, 2020.
He said they were government property gifted out as parting gifts by the immediate past governor of the state, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole , to former political office holders, companies and private individuals.
The government further justified the action by alluding to the demolition of the University of Benin Staff Quarts in the same Government Reservation Area, GRA, Benin City, when Comrade Adams Oshiomhole held sway as the governor of the state.
“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.
According to the statement, the property had been revoked and recovered and therefore automatically reverted to the original owner, which is the Government of Edo State, adding that the persons occupying the said property were doing so illegally and as trespassers.
“The action taken by the Edo State Government on Tuesday, March 23, 2021, was to evict the trespassers and squatters from these properties and effectively take possession of the assets. Therefore, the claims by the affected persons that their personal properties were demolished are false and baseless.
“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.
It added that “some of those affected, including a former governor, have now resorted to media blackmail when in fact they forcefully ejected senior academic staff of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) from these government properties, only to convert them to their own private use.”
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.”