The Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and the state government, yesterday, engaged in a war of words over government’s position on reclamation of lands, which the party has described as land-grabbing.
A statement by the party through its Assistant State Publicity Secretary, Victor Osehobo, which was reacting to Governor Godwin Obaseki’s recent meeting with Christian leaders where he said his administration had declared war on land-grabbers in the state and would also provide logistics and other needs to security agencies to fight land-grabbers, said Obaseki was using the issue of land grabbing to collect lands from lawful owners.
The statement said:
“It smacks of cluelessness for Governor Obaseki to announce that he has declared war on land grabbing. What Edo people expected him to declare a war on and long before now were the activities of rampaging criminal herdsmen, kidnappers and bandits, that have been busy terrorising highways across the state.
“This is the same Governor Obaseki who could not declare a war in January, when scores of persons, dressed in military uniform and suspected to be herdsmen invaded several farming communities in Ovia North-East LGA of Edo State, chased all the villagers away and took control of their farms and property.
“Is there any wisdom in hounding church leaders about the Obaseki government’s scam of a Benin master plan? Why his choice of church leaders, if not to garner primitive sympathy? Is it not tragic that Mr. Obaseki has just woken up, after six years in office and discovered the Benin master plan? Is this not the same plan his predecessor in office strived to implement to the letter but which he chose to abandon since 2016?”
Reacting, Special Adviser, Media Projects to Obaseki, Crusoe Osagie, in a statement accused the APC of supporting land grabbers.
He said the “tirade is not unexpected from the APC in the state, which thrives in lawlessness and disorder and sees nothing gainful in cleaning up a defective and unlawful system that empowered thugs and miscreants, who had hitherto intimidated and fleeced unsuspecting citizens in land and related transactions.
“The APC had been in bed with elements in communities particularly the now defunct Community Development Associations, CDAs, who trade in terror to intimidate, cow and dispossess people of their landed property, fomenting trouble that had scared investors from our state and discouraged many Edo sons and daughters, especially in diaspora, from investing in the state until recently.
“Where was Edo APC when the state government increased the minimum wage in Edo State from N30,000 to N40,000 and harmonized the pay of pensioners in the state? Is the impact of this landmark initiative not felt by a lot more people in the state? Why didn’t they speak up at the time this feat was recorded?
“On the charge for the state government to deploy its assets to check banditry and herdsmen attacks, the Edo APC is obviously playing the ostrich. In case they have forgotten, I would like to remind them that the Federal Government, which is controlled by their party, the APC, is constitutionally empowered to address issues of national security.”