The Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has signed into law a bill prohibiting forceful and illegal occupation of landed property by Community Development Associations (CDAs) in the state.
During the signing ceremony at the Government House in Benin City, the Edo state capital, Governor Obaseki said his administration will always provide a conducive environment for investments to thrive in the state.
He stated that many of the youths who would be affected by the bill would be compensated, urging the public to get familiar with the provisions of the law, adding that ignorance of the law is no excuse.
The governor further said that the acts of land grabbing is inimical to the economic growth of the society.
A copy of the bill was later presented to Oba Ewuare II, the Oba of Benin.
The Benin Monarch lauded the State’s Executive and Legislature for the swift enactment of the law, adding that those affected will be compensated.
“Palliative measures are put in place to ensure that they don’t see it as witch-hunting or excessive punishment or that they don’t recognise their plight”
Meanwhile, a task force headed by the former Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, has been set up to drive enforcement of the law.
The Edo State Police Commissioner, Haliru Gwandu, has promised to clamp down on anyone who flaunts the template being proposed by the state government to replace the Community Development Associations (CDAs) in the state.
The Police Commissioner who said this during a meeting with Eminent Peoples Forum at the police officers mess in Benin City, noted that order had returned to the communities since the intervention of the state government and the Benin monarch, Oba Ewuare (II).
A bill is currently before the Edo State House of Assembly aimed at proscribing some of the activities of these Community Development Associations.
“The government has intervened and the paramount ruler has also spoken and we are beginning to see changes coming from various communities.
“In the past, we were always receiving cases of communal clashes, a situation where young chaps under the guise of CDAs will stockpile arms and they use those arms on the local administration and sack the local administration, they also sack the traditional administration and they constitute themselves as Kings in those particular communities.
“Those things will certainly be a thing of the past very soon – the government is coming with a template and police has already swung into action.
“We are not going to spare anybody under whatever guise. Whosever is coming out with type of identity other than the one which law permits, if he is trying to cause chaos, cause distraction in any society, that person will not be spared,” Mr Gwandu stressed.