The Community Development Associations CDA in communities and villages in Edo State seem to have staged a deadly comeback against the backdrop of the position of the the palace of the Oba of Benin and Edo State Government on land allocation, land grabbing and double dealing on land matters.
The latest, among hundreds of such victims who are helpless and have lost their lands and property to the avarice of the CDA leadership is the Former Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists, Edo State Council and Principal Editor, Sparknewsnaija, Otunba Mike Aladenika, who at a press conference in Benin City alleged that the Ohen of Okhuoromi village in Benin City, Chief Ovbokhan Igbinovia trespassed “on my land measuring 100 × 100 feet at Okhuoromi, destroyed the foundation of two blocks of three bedroom flats built up to DPC level and sold the land to someone else”.
Otunba Mike Aladenika who was presented a video playback of relics of the destroyed property, his petition to relevant authorities among other documents said “I am forced to cry out now because I have realized that there are hundreds of Otunba Mike Aladenika out there who have suffered the same victimisation but were helpless”.
“Can you imagine that the same Ohen validly allocated the said land to his cousin, Uyi Enadeghe, who sold the said land to me, to the knowledge of the Ohen as he personally facilitated the documentation and signing of the deed of transfer, years back”.
“The Ohen collected his traditional respect and acknowledgement from me, while the Okaighele (youth leader) collected the sum of hundred thousand naira (100,000 Naira) from me in lieu of the required traditional cooking and they asked me to commence work on the land”.
“All these happened about three years ago. Between then and December 2020, there was no contention on the land until the Ohen, Chief Ovbokhan Igbinovia, came to encroach, destroyed and resold the land to one Uche”.
The former NUJ Chairman while fielding questions from journalists on efforts made to retrieve his property before now said “I have approached so many well meaning Edo citizens to talk to him to make him see reason. A principal officer of the Benin Traditional Council (BTC), top political leaders and some of his friends who were privy to my ownership of the land called and severally met with him all to no avail”.
“Rather for him to retrace his steps even when some people told him that his action to have demolished foundation is a forbidden act, he said he is the one that can determine whatever happens in his domain, stressing that he is not subject to any other authorities”.
“My fear now is that my life is been threatened because I am asking for what rightly belongs to me but I have my mind made up that I will not give up on this crusade as this will also liberate many who are currently suffering the same issue.”
Calls put across to the Ohen to get his own side of the story were neither answered nor replied.
On December 21, 2020, the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, revoked the Certificates of Occupancy (C-of-O) of 11 government properties within the Government Reserved Area (GRA) which were allotted to former political office holders, companies and private individuals as parting gifts on the eve of the exit of former Governor Adams Oshiomhole from office.
One of the properties was allocated to Governor Obaseki and was also revoked.
The properties have been revoked and recovered and therefore automatically belong to the original owner, which is the Government of Edo State. Therefore, the persons occupying the said properties are doing so illegally and are trespassers.
The action taken by the Edo State Government on Tuesday, March 23, 2021, was to evict the trespassers and squatters from these properties and effectively take possession of the assets. Therefore, the claims by the affected persons that their personal properties were demolished are false and baseless.
It is instructive to note that one of the properties in question to which a former Deputy Governor of the state, Dr. Pius Odubu, lays claim is actually the official Lodge of the Secretary to the State Government of Edo State (SSG). The implication of this is that all SSGs after Comrade Adams Oshiomhole’s administration will not have an official residence.
Some of those affected, including a former governor, have now resorted to media blackmail when in fact they forcefully ejected senior academic staff of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) from these government properties, only to convert them to their own private use.
Contrary to insinuations that government embarked on the recovery of the properties out of vendetta, the truth is that these are the only remaining properties in the GRA that belong to the state government. If they are allowed to be taken over by these private individuals, it means that when government wants to embark on any project within the GRA, it will have to resort to purchasing from the open market.
The governor has a fiduciary responsibility to protect and act in the best interest of the people of Edo State and will never betray the public trust they have reposed in him.
The Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority, ECTDA, has withdrawn the building approval it issued in 2016 to the Chancellor of Coal City University, Mr. Chinedu Ani for erection of his residence located in Plot 5 Onoh Crescent, GRA, Enugu.
Part of the palatial residence was demolished last week by ECTDA for illegal construction on Ekulu water way and blocking of a connecting road between GRA and Enugu-Onitsha expressway.
Ani, however, alleged that the demolition of his residence was a result of personal disagreement between him and the Chairman of ECTDA, Dr Josef Onoh, whom he accused of being part of the people that sold the road and water way to him in 2015.
Ani in an interview during the demolition exercise accepted that there was a road that transverse through the area before he built on the land, but that the original owners of the estate, Rockonoh Property Company limited gave him a go ahead to close the road.
“The Onohs sold the land to me and they told me that the road was created by their father when RCC came to construct the estate and that their father dismantled the bridge before they sold to one Walter Aneke who sold to me; and before I bought the land I went to them and asked them if I should acquire this place because I remember that while I was a child there used to be a road there. The only problem is that they wanted money from me,” Ani alleged.
Investigation however revealed that the ECTDA on March 22 2021 withdrew the building approval based on sundry allegations against Ani, ranging from material discrepancies in the actual size of his plot; pending litigation on alleged default on payment for the plot and lack of evidence to support Ani’s valid title for possession of the disputed plot.
ECTDA Head of Physical Planning and Development Control, Chinedu Ozochioke in the withdrawal notice accused Ani of multiple failures to submit his title documents that would have helped the agency resolve discrepancies and petitions against his ownership of the plot.
Among documents obtained by our our Correspondent is a petition to the Enugu state Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, by one Chief Aloysius Maduka who alleged that Ani was illegally occupying his plot without full payment of N40 million that was agreed as fee for purchase of the land and which is still a subject of litigation in an Enugu state high court.
Maduka further alleged that the size of the land he sold to Ani which he (Maduka) is still owed N12 million outstanding balance was 4,081.72 square meters of land as against about one hectare of land that Ani occupied before the demolition.
“Our client’s effort to get the balance of the sum of Twelve million (N12, 000, 000) naira only, when he came down from Lagos did not yield any fruit. Our client is presently counter claiming the above sum in suit No E/21/14 between Rockonoh Property Company limited and 17 others and our client has filed a motion to join Chinedu Ani and ATCOIE limited in the said suit,” Maduka’s counsel petitioned to Governor Ugwuanyi.
In January 2021, Maduka made due his petition through a prayer to the Enugu state High Court, asking for an order to join Chinedu Ani and ATCOIE Nigeria limited as defendants because of their acquired interest and as necessary parties for the purposes of determining issues in the controversy of the disputed property.
Maduka supported his petition with an original survey plan measuring 3,052.557 square meters and a memorandum of understanding between him and Karastan Company limited that sold the land to him wherein an additional 1,029.163 square meters was also purchased from the company to form Plot 5 Onoh crescent and which brought the size of the land to 4,081.72 square meters. He also presented bank transaction details that indicated that Ani only paid him N28 million instead of the agreed N40 million land deal.
In another revelation, the Chairman/ Managing Director of Rockonoh Property Company limited, Mr. GB Onoh, had in 2014 approached the court of the then Chief Justice of the state, Innocent Umezulike, who granted his appeal and issued an order barring any new development on the Onoh crescent other than the building approval granted to Chief C.C Onoh in 1976 as registered in No.90 vol.854 at page 90 in volume 854 of the land registry office at Enugu.
In September 2020, GB Onoh further petitioned the ECTDA alleging that Ani unilaterally blocked a street called Onoh crescent that led to a bridge, equally called Onoh Bridge, over Ekulu River that was a link between GRA and Enugu-Onitsha Expressway.
“Chinedu Ani’s actions, who was not even born when the bridge was constructed, should in no way be condoned and should face the same fate as others like him who arrogate their individual interests over that of the masses. His illegal blockade should be brought down and the Bailey bridge restored,” GB Onoh requested.
In 2015, Rockonoh Property Company through its counsel, Chudi Nwankwo Ozokolo and Associates, wrote to Ani, asking him to remove the “nuisance and obstruction” erected on the bridge and road at Onoh quarters.
Subsequently, in 2020, the Karastan Company limited in response to inquiry from ECTDA wrote to the agency authenticating its sale of land to Aloysius Maduka and others, noting that it never directly sold any plot of land to Mr. Chinedu Ani.
“The said Mr. Chinedu Ani in total disregard to law and order engaged on a willful distortion of the private estate layout by unilateral encroachment on our company’s plot 6 measuring 1,430.762 square meters, conversion of Ekulu River natural water way into his property, converting same to a water fountain in his private residence, causing undue hardship to all residents in the estate whom use same as a source of laundry, water and related essential services for over 45 years,” Karastan company petitioned.
Overwhelmed by the litany of petitions against Ani, added to his alleged non-cooperating attitude to the ECTDA, the state government agency after demolition of the obstructing property, said it was further moved to withdraw the Building No: ECTDA/BP/119/2015 approved on 24/02/2016 for Ani.
The ECTDA wrote to Ani and said that “Based on the submissions by your predecessors in the title, Messers Rockonoh Property Company limited, Karastan Company Limited, Chief Aloysius Maduka and Victor Amushi, the size of your plot is 5081.720 square meters, as shown in plan No. DA/EN231/2015 prepared by Surveyor P.A. Okoli, of 05/08/2015. However, the size of your plot in the building plan submitted to the Authority is 5858.013 square meters. You have been repeatedly requested to submit your title documents to the Authority to assist us in reconciling this discrepancy but you have failed, refuted or neglected to do so.
“The Authority was petitioned by your predecessor in the title, Chief Aloysius Maduka vide a letter dated 18/03/21 and he claims that he has not transferred title to you because you are yet to complete payment for the said property. The Authority has also been made aware of the pendency of suit No: E/21/14 between Rockonoh Property Company limited vs. Aloysius Maduka, Walter Aneke and 13 others and a pending motion to join you in the suit which has to do with title to the said land. As it is, the Authority cannot find any evidence that you possess a valid title to the land in question, hence this decision.”
When contacted, Ani failed to react to the revocation of his building approval, but had accused the Chairman of ECTDA, Josef Onoh, of engaging in a vendetta over his refusal to invite him (Onoh) to his birthday party.
Ani had also alleged that Onoh demanded money from him over the land transaction which he said he refused, stating also to have bought the land in dispute directly from the Onohs’.
The ground-breaking of the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri narrow gauge line, otherwise known as the Eastern rail, this morning would go down as the continuation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s ambitious’ mandate to link all parts of the country by rail, writes ADEYINKA ADERIBIGBE
Finally, the Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi, will today bring the dividends of democracy closer home, as he, on behalf of his principal, President Muhammadu Buhari, performs the ground breaking of the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri railway project.
The Eastern Narrow Gauge Railway project with a construction time of 36 months estimated at about 1,000 kilometres, is expected to cost $3billion, with the Federal Government obligated to pay only 15 percent counterpart funding.
Instructively, the project is coming with two new elements – the link to the Bonny Deep seaport and the Railway Industrial Park – to be located in Port Harcourt.
The project, which would be executed by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, (CCECC), had been approved since September, to link Port Harcourt on the Atlantic Coast, southsouth, to Maiduguri, on the border with chad, on northeast Nigeria.
Amaechi, who broke the news to reporters during his routine inspection of the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail project, expressed happiness that at last his people would be happy that the railway is, at least, coming closer home.
The minister added that two new spurs (branch lines) may be added to the project to link Abakaliki, Ebonyi State capital and Akwa, the Anambra State capital, thereby achieving the dream of linking the Southeast capitals by rail system.
He clarified that the ground breaking entailed only the take-off of front end engineering procedures including engineering designs and planning, after which the actual construction is expected to begin.
On the viability of the corridor, Amaechi said though the Lagos-Kano rail could move 30 million tons of cargo; when completed, the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri line would move 11 million tons of cargo.
He said: “When we complete the railways, there are certain cargoes that will no longer be allowed on the roads.
“This is to encourage the movement of cargo on the rail lines and to ensure that our roads are preserved.
“Moving cargo across the country through rail would be cheaper and faster than the roads.”
The Global Construction Review, a website of the Chartered Institute of Building, quoted the minister as saying last year, that the Federal Executive Council has approved the award of contracts for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Port Harcourt to Maiduguri narrow-gauge railway, with new branch lines and transshipment infrastructure. These are the construction of a deep-sea port in Bonny and a railway industrial park in Port Harcourt.
According to the website, the minister said the reconstruction of the railways would cost around $3billion. The industrial park is expected to cost $240million and the port $480 million.
These last two projects would be developed as public–private partnerships “at no cost to the federal government”.
The port at Bonny will have a rail connection to the Port Harcourt line. Others will be built to Owerri, the Imo State capital, and Kafanchan in Kaduna State.
The Eastern rail line project was started by the British colonialists from Port Harcourt to Enugu, 243 km between 1914 and 1916, from Enugu it extended to Makurdi 223km from 1916–1924, and from Kaduna to Kafranchan 179 km 1924-1927, and Kafranchan to Jos, 101 km from 1924 -1927.
For about 31 years, 1927 -1957 there was a lull in railway development until 1958, when the rail line was extended from Kafanchan to Bauchi in 1961, 238 kms and, ultimately, to Maiduguri 302 kms from 1963 to 1964.
This development, in addition to the western narrow gauge rail line, brought the nation’s total narrow gauge assets to 2,505 and track kilometres to 4,332 managed by the Nigerian Railway Corporation.
From its peak of glory, regarded as the golden age of the early ‘60s, the railway fell into stormy waters, because there were no comprehensive maintenance provision for the narrow gauge, and the corporation went into bankruptcy.
The corporation existed in fits and starts until 2002, when the government birthed the 25-year strategic vision for the railway, which favoured the modernisation of the rail system with the construction of the standard gauge.
The vision has three phases: Phase One; system transition from 2002 to 2007, entails the transition of the narrow gauge rehabilitation which narrow gauge functions effectively and become attractive to concessionaires. Phase two includes system modernisation from 2007 to 2015, and both phases are being implemented concurrently and because of some delays in budgetary allocation and implementation, which involves the construction of new standard gauge infrastructure and the attraction of private investment and modernisation of operations and increasing local technological capacity.
Phase Three system stabilisation 2015 to 2027. This will consolidate on the advancements of the two previous phases with the extension of new routes to reach all the state capitals and commercial centres and effective commercialisation of rail operations and development of high speed lines with optimal efficiency.
The Port Harcourt narrow gauge rail line would have been in total comatose but for skeletal services being provided by the NRC between Port Harcourt and Calabar, which has been suspended due to COVID-19 and loss of tracks.
In May 2010, former President Goodluck Jonathan launched an ambitious rail rehabilitation project meant to see the rail network rehabilitated. One of the lines identified for immediate rehabilitation was the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri corridor, which was partitioned into three contracts, the 463 km Port Harcourt- Makurdi, which collapsed and was abandoned, in need of reconstruction and rehabilitation.
Logistics stakeholders said the rehabilitation of the rail corridor would unleash huge economic potential of the areas and support economic diversification and job creation.
Members of Àmechi and Obeagu Awkunanaw communities in Enugu south local government area of Enugu State have cried out to the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu over alleged indiscriminate and unlawful arrests, detention and prosecution of the community members in a protracted land tussle with an Estate development firm.
The two communities said that despite the fact that an Enugu High court had ordered against their arrests, a police team from Abuja defiled the order to arrest them in Enugu, took them to Suleja in Niger state where they were detained for days before arraignment in Niger state court.
Spokesman of the affect persons, Mr. Sunday White Nnaji, who just regained freedom after incarceration noted that the police lacked jurisdiction to meddle into a civil land matter, no matter how a petition is couched just to frame up, intimidate and harass the community members.
Nnaji said: “Six of my people are still in Suleja prison, they were eight before but two have been released. They have been there for the past five months. What they do is that anytime we came to the court, the matter will be adjourned.
“The Chief of Staff to the Enugu state Governor, Festus Uzor is the arrowhead in all these. Another person is Mr Kingsley Eze of Private Estates International West Africa limited.
“They have been threatening us with police, alleging all sorts of falsehood. The police they are using is the FBI tactical squad from Abuja. They arrested us despite the court order we secured that restricted the police agency, including one Celestine a policeman who came for the arrest. The policeman said he will not obey the court order for whatever reason and arrested, detained us for two days.
“The problem is is that we have a large expanse of land in Àmechi and Obeagu communities which Mr Kingsley Eze and some other influential people within the state are forcefully trying to take away from us. They claim that government gave it to them and they want to be selling the land and be making money and the communities will become mumu and be looking at them and what they have is a fake Certificate of Occupancy which the state government has revoked.”
Enugu state Police Public Relations Officer, Daniel Ndukwe could not pick his calls for reaction to the development.
The Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri has called for more private investments in a bid to boost the economic development of the State.
He made the call on Monday during the Commissioning of the Bovie Commodity Market, Kpansia 2, Yenagoa.
Governor Diri noted that the Bovie Commodity Market which focuses on food distribution across the State and nation would greatly increase the revenue of the State.
The Governor who was represented by the Commissioner for Trade, Industry and Investment, Hon. Stanley Braboke expressed delight that the market is indigenously owned with a concentrated effort on employing over 250 persons in the State.
He further called upon other industrious individuals in the State to Invest in Bayelsa, adding that it was an error to invest in other States without first investing in Bayelsa, and pledged the Government’s support to all investors saying Bayelsa is a safe haven for investors.
The Governor also commended the Chief Executive Officer of Bovie Farms Nigeria Limited, Mr. Diekivie Bovie Ikiogha on his initiative, describing him as a visionary who is committed to the economic development of the State and should be emulated.
On his part, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Hon. David Alagoa said that the project was geared towards the world’s current focus of creating an agriculture value chain, adding that the market would foster the sales of food grown in the State.
He further acknowledged difficulty to own farm lands and perennial flooding as some of the challenges of farming in Bayelsa, and urged community leaders to make land cheap and available to members of their communities for the purpose of farming.
The Commissioner for Education, Hon. Gentle Emelah in his remarks, commended Mr. Diekivie on his inspiring initiative, stating that a similar vision was being birthed in him.
Speaking earlier, the C.E.O Bovie Farms, Mr. Diekivie said the unequal prices of agricultural produce across the nation birthed the initiative to regularize prices of goods through a cooperative which funds its members trading at the Bovie Commodity Market.
He further noted that the establishment of his cooperative and commodity markets in Benue, Ogun, Bayelsa, and Enugu States would ensure direct buying of agricultural products from farmers and fishermen, and in turn take the products to the Bovie Commodity Market for sale to traders at a subsidized rate.
The commissioning of the market was followed by a tour of the facility comprising food shops, fruit shops, a restaurant, a salon, and a pharmacy.
High-point of the event was the presentation of gift items which included Bayelsa grown and processed food products such as plantain and cassava flour among-st others to the Governor.
Also present at the event was the Commissioner for Information, Orientation and Strategy, Hon. Ayibaina Duba.
Nigeria’s Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige has said that the Federal Government will support Anambra State in rebuilding facilities destroyed during the #EndSARS protests that recently rocked the country.
Senator Ngige stated this when he made an on-the-spot assessment of the damage done to facilities in different parts of Anambra State.
Senator Ngige, a former Governor of Anambra State toured the facilities in company of the Secretary to the Government of Anambra State, Professor Solo Chukwulobelu and other government officials.
The property visited by the minister included Anambra State Internal Revenue Service, Operation Clean and Healthy Anambra (OCHA) Brigade office, Central Police Command, Ogidi, Divisional Police Headquarters, also in Ogidi, Divisional Police Headquarters, Nnobi and Nnewi Central Police Station and barracks as well as the Area Command Headquarters, Nnewi.
Note that Governor Willie Obiano had visited the facilities days ago, where he promised that immediate re-construction would soon commence.
The #EndSARS protests had began peacefully in Anambra State as with others states in the federation, with Governor Obiano once addressing the protesters, making crucial promises to ensure that police officers who perpetuated crimes in the state are expeditely brought to book.
However, at the tail end of the social agitation, hoodlums capitalized on the volatility of the period and the conspicuous absence of security officials to unleash crimes including torching government property and looting anything their hands could reach.
Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, has visited the site of a building in Aba which collapsed while under construction. The Governor expressed his deep sadness over the incident which has so far claimed five lives.
The visibly angry Governor Ikpeazu also expressed shock at the low quality materials used to erect the 3-storey building. He therefore directed the immediate suspension of Mr Okezie Ahuruonye, the Executive Secretary, Aba Town Planning Authority, and directed security agents to arrest the developer of the property and bring him to justice swiftly.
Governor Ikpeazu who expressed his desire to meet with the family of the dead persons also directed the state ministry of land, planning and survey to improve its supervision at construction sites, and condemned those who embark on construction of buildings without obtaining proper approvals, warning them to desist from such acts or face dire consequences.
Governor Ikpeazu was accompanied by his Deputy, Rt Hon Ude Oko Chukwu, Acting Transition Council Chairman of Aba South LGA, Evangelist Fred Aja Ogwo, among other top government officials.
Meanwhile, Governor Ikpeazu has appointed the Deputy General Manager of Abia State Environnental Protection Agency (ASEPA), Chief Roland Nwakanma, as the site coordinator of the ongoing search and recover efforts of the government. This was revealed by the State Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, while addressing newsmen after the commissioning of Abia state Infectious Disease Hospital and COVID-19 treatment center in Aba. He assured that the Governor is directly supervising the recovery efforts and will ensure that anyone found culpable in the building collapse will be brought to justice.
The Central Bank of Nigeria CBN is planning to convert it’s clinic inside Garki 2 estate into a Covid-19 treatment centre. Jungle Journalist Media Ltd has learnt.
According to a resident who spoke with our Abuja Correspondent, the clinic doctor and CBN management staff had met officials of the estate association to brief them of the proposed plan but the residents wee against the idea.
Leaders of the association wondered why the clinic inside an estate where more than 200 residents live should be converted into a treatment centre. They said the risks are overwhelming.
“If executed, the estate will have only one entrance instead of the regular two as expected by law. The association intend to approach the court should CBN insist on converting the estate into covid treatment centre”, the resident said while speaking with Jungle Journalist Media Ltd on the telephone.
Below are copies of petition the community has already written to the Governor of the Central Bank, the Coordinator of National Centre for Disease Control, and the Managing Director, Development Control, Abuja.
Two persons have been confirmed dead, and another person in Intensive care unit (ICU), as a Bell 206 helicopter operated by Quorum Aviation crashed into a building at 16 A, Salvation Road, Opebi, Ikeja Lagos on Friday.
According to an eyewitness, identified as Faith Omo, “The accident happened so fast with a big bang and the whole ground shook. We all rushed out of the office to see what had happened. Only to find out it was a Helicopter that just crashed. It fell into a compound. God saved all the people occupying the place because it didn’t fall on top of the building.
“We ran far away for safety. A lot of crying is currently going on right now, I am seeing emergency services removing dead bodies from the scene. I must commend all Lagos State Emergency Agencies, they arrived here just within 15 minutes after the incident happened. And they are still here.”
The incident was said to have happened at about 12:05pm of Friday.
In a situation report, the Director General and CEO of Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Dr Olufemi Damilola Oke-Osanyintolu, said the agency received distress calls concerning “a privately operated helicopter that crashed into 16 A Salvation Road, Opebi, Ikeja and immediately activated the emergency response plan.
“The helicopter was carrying three people, one is in the intensive care unit at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital while the other two were killed on impact and there bodies have been deposited in mortuary . We on top of challenges especially crowd control
“Operation is ongoing and updates will follow”
The crash was confirmed by the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), which said it had dispatched officials to the site of the accident.