The candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the last gubernatorial election in Edo State, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, may drag the state governor, Godwin Obaseki, to court to challenge the revocation of parcels of land, including his own, located at Amagba Village, in Benin City, the state capital, LEADERSHIP WEEKEND can report.
The revocation notice issued by Obaseki has reinforced the divide among Edo residents along party lines, with supporters of the APC candidate describing the governor’s action as politically motivated and a renewal of the political battle to annihilate Ize-Iyamu, saying they thought the battle had ended at the Supreme Court.
But former aide to governor Obaseki, Adaze Emwanta, explained that the governor took the decision in the interest of the state, a power he derived from the Land Use Act and urged people who are laying claim to the affected parcels of land to heed the directive in the notice. He disclosed that “the land Ize-Iyamu is laying claim to, used to belong to the state government, and was meant for a government project. But Ize-Iyamu converted the land to his farmland”.
Though Ize-Iyamu would not respond to calls and a text message made by our reporters to shed light on his next line of action, a source close to him who pleaded anonymity said Ize-Iyamu had instructed his lawyers to challenge the revocation notice in court.
When contacted, one of his lawyers, Barrister K.O. Obamogie said: “This is something I don’t want to discuss in the pages of newspapers. Thank you.”
Also contacted to explain the rationale for the state government’s revocation notice, director of lands, Edo State Geographic Information Service (EDOGIS), Mrs A. O. Aihie said: “No comment. I am a civil servant. I have no comment on that.”
However, the state governor stated in the notice that he drew his powers to issue the revocation notice from the Land Use Act of 1978.
The land revocation notice, which was entitled: ‘Edo State Government Revocation Notice; Land Required For The Service of The Government of Edo State of Nigeria,’ was published in Vanguard Newspaper of June 25, 2021, and signed by governor Obaseki.
In the notice, Obaseki said: “Revocation of right of right of occupancy and compensation thereof in pursuance of section 28 of the Land Use Decree No. 6 1978.
“Notice is hereby given that in exercise of the powers conferred upon me by sections (28) 1 and 38 of the Land Use Decree No. 6 of 1978 and by virtue of all other laws enabling me on that behalf, I, Mr. Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki, the governor of Edo State of Nigeria, hereby revoke the Statutory Right of Occupancy granted in respect of all those parcels of land measuring approximately 18.0736 hectares, and are required for overriding public interest to wit: for public purpose within the Edo State of Nigeria, is hereby revoked.”
He explained the survey description as “All that parcel of land at Amagba Village area and environs in Oredo local government area of Edo State of Nigeria containing an area of approximately 13.862 hectares, the boundaries of which are described below:
“Starting at point Al the coordinates of which are 248 834.000 metres North and 352 099.000 metres East of the national origin, the boundaries run in straight lines, the bearings, and lengths of which are as follows: From bearings (m) length to A1 1180 00’ 587.82cm A2; A2 1930 35’ 153.29m A3; A3 2840 42’ 563.45m A4; A4 0090 45’ 64.94m A5; A5 2650 23’ 62.20m A6; A6 0120 50’ 220.51m A7; A7 1060 49’ 44.92m A8; A8 0450 00’ 29.70m A1, amongst others.
Obaseki urged: “Any person claiming to have any Right of Occupancy, Estate, Interest, or any other right in the said land is required, within six weeks from the date of the service of this notice, to send to the managing director, Edo State Geographic Information Service, 102 Sapele Road, Benin City, Edo State of Nigeria, a statement of his/her interest of right of ownership, etc.
“3. The Government is willing to treat the revocation of right of occupancy of the said land. 4. Land in respect of which no statement is received is liable to be dealt with as an unoccupied/ undeveloped land.
“5. Notice is hereby given that government intends to enter possession of the said land on the expiration of six (6) weeks from the date of the publication of this notice in Edo State of Nigeria official Gazette and any of the national dailies that circulates widely in the State.
“6. Any person who shall willfully hinder or obstruct the government or any person employed by the Government me taking Possession of the said land or any part thereof is liable on conviction under the provision of the law above mentioned to a fine as stipulated by law or 12 months imprisonment or both.
“7. A sketch plan showing the site is available for inspection during office hour at the office of the Director of Lands, Edo State Geographic Information Service, 102 Sapele Road, Benin City.
“8. By virtue of the provisions of the law and subject thereto, no claim to any estate, interest or right in land affected by the notice made at the expiration of twelve (12) calendar months) from the publication of this notice in the Edo State of Nigeria Gazette shall be entertained by any public officer whose duty it is to receive claims or by any court.”