About 90 houses were demolished in Benin on Thursday by the Edo State Government, saying the moves were meant to reclaim 1,229 hectares of land meant for the development of a new town project in the city.
The demolition is coming barely 24 hours after the government declared a 24-hour curfew in Ihhiri-Obazagbon-Ogheghe, Benin.
The state Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Chris Nehikhare, at a press conference on Thursday said the state government acquired the land in 2017 and warned all those who encroached on the land to stop working at different times.
He said, “The Edo State Government has dislodged land-grabbers along the Irhirhi-Obazagbon-Ogheghe Road, to make room for the development of a new town project. The affected area is land measuring 1,229 hectares along the Irhirhi-Obazagbon-Ogheghe Road.
“The land was acquired in 2017 for the new town project but had been encroached upon by land speculators. The area repossessed used to be the Ogba Forest Reserve at the time of the acquisition.
“The repossession exercise is part of Governor Godwin Obaseki’s renewed campaign against land-grabbing in the state, aimed at restoring sanity in land administration in the state.
“You will recall that a curfew was declared in the area for 24 hours starting from midnight, September 29 to 12 noon September 30, 2022, in the Obazagbon-Ogheghe axis of the Irhirhi-Obazagbon-Ogheghe Road to make way for this exercise.
“On the operation in the communities, the government officials entered the area at about 3am with the full complement of security personnel. The area was repossessed with no casualty. The exercise is going on peacefully.”