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‘Illegal’ demolition: Man loses N38m in Edo community

A man, Osaro Ihankpan, whose houses were pulled down with a bulldozer at Ulegun community in Ikpoba Okha LGA of Edo State, has alleged that…

A man, Osaro Ihankpan, whose houses were pulled down with a bulldozer at Ulegun community in Ikpoba Okha LGA of Edo State, has alleged that he lost property worth N38 million to the “illegal demolition”.

Over 60 houses were demolished last week in the community on the orders of Mr Frank Irabor, the Secretary to the Benin Traditional Council (BTC).

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Irabor had told journalists that the land measuring 225.47 hectares where the houses were built belonged to the Oba of Benin.

Lamenting his predicament, Irabor said he spent N38m in the last 12 years on the buildings which he said were at the filling and roofing levels when they were demolished.

He said, “We have not been ourselves since the demolition. Some have been hospitalised following the incident, because many of us put our life savings in building those houses.”

He, therefore, called on the Edo State Government and the federal government to come to their aid, saying, “I bought the land and paid before I started building.”

The leader of the community told journalists that they were not aware that their lands had been given to the Oba of Benin.

Mr Raymond Enogieru, who spoke for the Enogie of the community, Sunday Eghosasere Omoregie, said the land in question had been a subject of litigation for several years between the people of Ulegun and Ukhiri communities.

He noted that the land dispute had been resolved in various courts up to the Supreme Court in favour of Ulegun community, in addition to the pronouncement by a late Oba of Benin, HRM, Oba Erediawa.

Omoregie said the community held the oba in high esteem and would not do anything to undermine his sovereignty.

He, however, accused the leadership of Ukhiri community and the palace secretary of bringing the revered traditional institution to disrepute.

It would be recalled that Justice Mary Itsueli of the Edo State High Court had ordered that Mr Frank Irabor and six others should be remanded in prison pending receipt of advice from the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) over the demolition.

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