Ulegun Land Tussle: Benin Court Remands Frank Irabor, BTC Secretary, Others

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By Reporter 

Arising from the protest by
Ulegun Community that followed the demolition of about 80 buildings recently, the Edo State Police Command, earlier today, September 1, 2022, arrested and docked the Secretary of Benin Traditional Council, Mr. Frank Irabor, and other chiefs for the illegal demolition of over 80 houses in Ulegun Community, Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area of Edo State.

Irabor and others were dragged to court to face trial at the Edo High Court, Benin City.

All the accused were ordered to be remanded in prison by Justice Mary Itsueli of a Benin High Court for allegedly engaging in the act.

The accused persons were docked on a six count-charge offence bordering on forceful taking over of land and illegal demolitions of building at Ulegun village in Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area of Edo.

Docked along Irabor were Chief Oko-Oboh, Aghavbere Osawemwenguan, Abel Oko Oboh, Tuesday Atagamene, Okechukwu Okeke and Ode Ikoko.

The police with charge number: BD/CD/241M alleged that the accused involved in the illegal demolition of houses in the village that are worth N500 million.

The charge read in the part: “That you did conspire amongst yourselves to commit felony to wit: Promoting Inter Communal War and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 516 of the Criminal Code Act, Cap C38, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

“That you did conspire amongst yourselves to commit felony to wit: Forceful Take Over of Land and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 516 of the Criminal Code Act, Cap C38, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

“That on Aug. 28, 2022, at Ulegun Community, in Benin City, in the Benin Criminal Division, you did conspire amongst yourselves to commit felony to wit: Malicious Damage and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 516 of the Criminal Code Act, Cap C38, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

“That you did wilfully and unlawfully damage about 60 houses belonging to different persons at Ulegun Community, value of properties amounting to about N500 million and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 451 of the Criminal Code Act, Cap C38, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004”.

While moving an exparte application for the remand of the accused, Polycarp Odion, Legal Officer with the Nigeria Police, told the court that the charge file had been sent to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) for advice.

Odion asked the court to remand the accused persons in prison pending the advice. He also pointed that the charges against them were grievous one.

In her ruling, Justice Itsueli granted the application of the legal officer and adjourned the case to September 15, 2022.

It will be recalled that in Edo State, land matters constitute more than 60% of cases in the various court rooms and sadly, this ugly trend has been linked to the slow pace of social development and industrialisation of the state.

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