Dispossessed Landowners Kick Against Egbetokun's Plan To Develop Hometown - THE LIVING GUIDE

Dispossessed Landowners Kick Against Egbetokun's Plan To Develop Hometown

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Crisis is surreptitiously rearing its ugly head in Erinja, a border town of Nigeria with the Republic of Benin in Yewa South Local Government Area of Ogun State and the hometown of the Inspector General of Police, IGP Kayode Egbetokun.

The crisis may not be unconnected with the good plan of IGP Kayode Egbetokun to accord national recognition to Erinja by giving it a federal presence through the establishment of a federal project in the hometown.

Laudable as this plan may be however, it may be slowed down as dispossessed landowners are displeased with the plan which they claimed is intended to dispossess them, especially the non indigenes resident in the town.

Information has it that the Inspector General of Police, IGP Egbetokun has sought to establish a police secondary school in the remote village of Erinja, his hometown and had made this intention known to the traditional ruler of his hometown, the Elerinja of Erinja, Oba Alani Egunjobi, who is said to also be a cousin to the IGP.

Oba Egunjobi who was said to have totally fallen for the idea promptly allocated land for the project and clearing of the over 75 acres of land allocated to the project, adjacent to the Palace of the Elerinja has began.

But those whose legally acquired properties were included in the portion of land allocated for the project are now kicking, insisting that Oba Egunjobi cannot include their properties as they were duly bought and paid for.

Some of these aggrieved landowners are also maintaining that Oba Egunjobi has an ulterior intention by including their properties in the allocated portion for the police secondary school as they had houses, crops, boreholes and other investments on the properties which had been bought way back in the past and also have all the relevant documents.

Speaking to journalists in Abeokuta recently, one of the dispossessed landowners, one Lokossou Theophile, an indigene of the Republic of Benin but resident in Erinja, Nigeria claimed he has a block industry on his three acres of land with which he earns his daily livelihood.

He also claimed to have other property on the said piece of land which he bought in 2015 and these, according to him, included a borehole, cassava plants, banana and milliner trees and other crops.

Another victim of this alleged dispossession is Amajala Leonard, also a Beninois who has one acre and two plots legally acquired and four acres rented.

According to Amajala, he has his residence on  his two plots of land and on the rest, he has cassava, banana, orange and oil palms along with sundry other crops.

The duo maintained that they were not only forcefully ejected from their land, they were also beaten up by the villagers and humiliated as they claimed that they constituted impediments to the progress of the village.

Confused and not knowing what to do, the two allegedly dispossessed land owners had resorted to the Oba of Erinja, Oba Egunjobi hoping to get justice.

According to Lokossou and Amajala, Oba Egunjobi insisted that the town would pay each dispossessed residents in Erinja the sum of six hundred thousand naira (N600,000) apiece.

But the two affected Beninese are shouting foul as they claimed that the amount is paltry, insisting that the said amount could not compensate their loss of land, crops and properties.

When contacted, Oba Egunjobi said the affected landowners should have rather exhausted the avenue offered by the palace for compensation before rushing to the press.

He noted that all lands belong to the government and that no compensation has hitherto come from that source but that his palace is prepared to pay each dispossessed residents of the town the sum of six hundred thousand naira (N600,000) per acre.

The monarch said there is no discussion yet on crops or other property on the affected lands as the dispossessed were told earlier not to plant anything again on these lands.

He said some would be collecting their compensations last Thursday but that the names of the two are not among as they have refused to give the palace the names to be written on their cheques.

However, the President of the Union of Beninese Residents In Nigeria (UBERN), Romain Kakpo has described the dispossession of the Beninese as cheating and uncalled for.

He noted that his people invested in Erinja after much plea from the palace, adding that there are several Nigerians too with properties in Benin Republic and they were not molested in any way whatsoever.

He said he had briefed their lawyer on the matter and that they would be heading to court immediately if proper redress is not accorded his people.

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