Edo signs land grabbing bill into law

By Eme Offiong, Calabar

L-R: Majority leader Edo State House of Assembly, Folly Ogedengbe, Speaker Edo State House of Assembly, Justine Okonoboh, Deputy Speaker Edo State House of Assembly, Mrs. Elizabeth Ativie, Governor Edo State, Godwin Obaseki (Middle), Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, PS Edo State Ministry of Justic, Wole Iyamu, during the signing of the bill into law.

Poised to end the practice of forceful and illegal occupation of private landed property known as Land Grabbing in Nigeria, the Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has signed a bill into law to address land grabbing.

The law, ‘Community Development Associations,’ CDAs seeks to end the activities of such groups, encourage investments and above all protect the rights of widows and orphans.

Historical milestone
Governor Obaseki described the provisions of the law as a historical milestone that would encourage the growth of local investors in Edo State.

“My administration believes that the way to sustainable development is to unleash and nurture our productive energy and that of investors. Investment will not thrive in a lawless environment; it is a thing of pride that we signed this bill into law,’’ he said.

According to the Governor, the Community Development Associations destroyed the traditional land tenure system, which served the people prior to the advent of colonialism.

“Our land tenure system before and during the colonial era was rated as the best, but it had been turned around by some nefarious activities of CDAs,” he stated.

Implementation support
The Governor urged the State’s Chief Justice and security agencies to support the implementation of law, saying “we have constituted a task force chaired by the retired Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, to drive the enforcement of the law and supervise all matters related.”

He urged unemployed young persons, particularly those affected by the law, to key into the State’s owned youth empowerment scheme for alternative means of generating income.

Presenting the bill to the Governor for assent, the Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Justin Okonoboh said the new law “would prohibit forceful entry into people’s landed property and protect widows’ rights to their husbands’ property.”

At the palace of the Oba of Benin, the Governor presented the traditional ruler with a copy of the new law and expressed appreciation for the support.

Monarch commendation
The Monarch, Oba Ewuare the second, commended the Governor and lawmakers for their swiftness in the passage of the bill into law.

“Today is historical and I am personally overwhelmed. I was really upset with the activities of CDAs in the state. I saw the need to tackle the issue of CDAs as their actions became destructive,” Ewuare stated.

During his coronation, the monarch had decried the incessant incidents of land grabbing that characterised CDAs in the State, a situation which he said, affected land acquisition and development by citizens and investors.

Mercy Chukwudiebere