In the face of the lull in land grabbing following the Edo State Government’s commitment to stamp out the menace, trickle of reports are still rolling in.
One of such is coming from Chief Osarumwense Imasuen, the Ozukpogieva (second in command) of Isiedun Community in the Ekehuan area of Benin who visited the Nigerian Observer office to report a related matter.
Chief Imasuen said there had recently been disturbances in the settlement on account of fraudulent claims, land grabbing and usurpation. Some of these, he said had resulted in physical skirmishes.
Chief Imasuen added that on the 28th of July this year, (2023) there was a heavy fight in the village which was quelled by some civic minded people. He further said that on the 31st of July, there was an even heavier fight.
He said when he summoned the youth and asked what the matter was, he was told that one Iyare Agbonze, also known as Romeo Ogidia, was terrorizing them and selling and reselling parcels of land that did not belong to him, without consulting the owners.
Chief Imasuen said following the second fight, he summoned a meeting of the elders and the youth over the matter, saying it was agreed at the meeting that Iyare Agbonze had done wrong and that as the community elder, he suspended Iyare Agbonze from the position of Okaghele (youth leader) for one month to allow for further investigation, in the interest of communal peace and so that the community would not come into disrepute as a centre of land grabbing and fraudulent land deals.
He said Iyare Agbonze then proceeded to the Oba’s palace, following which community elders were summoned to the palace to state their side in the matter.
He said they accordingly explained at the Oba’s palace how there had been two fights and why, and that the actions they took were to forestall further disturbances in the community.
He said after listening carefully to their position, palace officials asked them to return to their community and resolve the matter amicably among themselves.
Chief Imasuel further said that after they left the palace, Agbonze came forward to claim the palace had reinstated him as the Okaghele, a claim which he said he knew to be untrue.
His words: “I am Osare Imasuen, the Ozukpogieva of Isiedun Community. On 28 of July 2023 there was a very serious fight in the village, and the youth said they don’t want him (Iyare Agbonze) so somebody went there to quell the fight.
“On the 31, again, which was on Monday, there was a heavier fight, so I summoned a meeting of elders and youth to find out what really happened. They said he was terrorizing them and selling land which did not belong to him.
“The youth said they wanted to avoid bringing a bad name to the society so we gathered the elders and everyone agreed that he has done wrong and we should investigate the matter.
“The Odionwere is already late so because I’m the elder of the community, I pronounced him suspended from the position of Okaghele for the period of one month to investigate more.”
Chief Imasuen said the community wanted Iyare Agbonze to be called to order and stopped from misusing the name of the palace in falsehood. Therefore, this public outcry is now necessary to stop Abgonze from purportedly bringing the community into disrepute by engaging in unscrupulous land deals, Pa Imasuen said.