The Omo n’Oba n’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba of Benin, Ewuare II has warned that, the Palace does not need any gathering or protest over the row sorrounding the demolition of some houses in Ulegun Community in Edo State.
The Palace further directed that all planned protests and demonstrations by any group or individuals should be halted.
The monarch’s instruction is contained in a press statement issued by Ewuare II press secretary, Osaigbovo Iguobaro
“The attention of the Benin Traditional Council has been drawn to a planned solidarity gathering by the Coalition of Social cultural Organisations over the arrest and detention of the Secretary, Benin Traditional Council , Frank Irabor and some chiefs in Benin Kingdom.
“While the Palace appreciates their concern, let it be known that , the Palace of the Oba of Benin does not want such gathering at this time and consequently directs that the organisers of the gathering halt the exercise immediately.
“The issue in question that led to their arrest is being resolved.
“In this regard, nobody or group of persons should gather in the Oba of Benin Palace or anywhere in Benin Kingdom on Monday 5th September, 2022.
“This announcement is important for all those concerned to comply please.” The release read.
Meanwhile, the leaders of Ulegun Community in Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area, have insisted that they did not at any time cede any land to the Oba of Benin, Ewuare II.
The personal assistant to the traditional ruler of Ulegun community, Mr. Raymond Enogieru, disclosed this on behalf of the Enogie of the community, Sunday Eghosasere Omoregie, while addressing the press in his palace.
According to reports, the Enogie said: “We have never given the Oba of Benin our lands, measuring 225.47 hectares or aware that our lands have been given to the Oba and would not have dared to build on it.”
Omoregie insisted that the community held the Oba in high esteem and would not do anything to undermine his sovereignty.
He accused the leadership of a neighbouring community (Ukhiri) and the Palace Secretary of bringing the revered institution into disrepute.
He explained that a dispute over the said land with its neighbouring community (Ukhiri) had been resolved in various courts up to the Supreme Court in favour of Ulegun community, in addition to the pronouncement by former Oba of Benin, HRM, Oba Erediauwa.
It will be recalled that on Thursday, September 1, 2022, Justice Mary Itsueli of Edo State High Court sitting in Benin City, ordered that Mr. Frank Irabor, Secretary to the Benin Traditional Council and six others, including chiefs, should be remanded to prison custody pending receipt of legal advice by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP).
The police are prosecuting the accused following protests by the community for justice over the illegal destruction of their property as well as alleged intimidation, harassment and disregard for the rule of law.
Over 60 houses were said to have been demolished during the demolition exercise last week at Ulegun community.
Mr. Frank Irabor had earlier been reported to have said that the land measuring 225.47 hactares, where the houses were built, belonged to the Oba of Benin, and allegedly added that: “Those who built on the land should go and meet those who sold the land to them.”