Oba Ewuare II of Benin

By Victor Osehobo, Benin City

The Benin monarch, Oba Ewuare II has ordered the immediate suspension of Community Development Associations (CDAs) in all the seven local government areas of Edo State which constitute the Benin Kingdom.

These are Oredo (capital),  Egor,  Ikpoba Okha, Uhunmwode, Orhionmwon, Ovia South West and Ovia North East local government areas.

Community Development Associations (CDAs) in Benin specialise in land matters with many communities clashing over boundaries between them leading to bloodbath and killings and destruction of millions of naira worth of property in times past.

The CDAs are also notorious for selling one plot of land to more than one person, levying land developers in many communities for buying the plots, laying foundations, digging bore holes or erecting gates and roofing houses.

The palace said all land matters would henceforth be adjudicated by the Oba or through the Enogie or Edionwere or oldest male in the community and no longer through Community Development Associations led by mostly jobless youths.

The Oba, who is the paramount ruler over the Edo South District of Edo state, has traditional rights over all native lands in the kingdom,  especially lands that fall outside the rights of the governor under the Land Use Act.

For many decades the Oba was in charge of adjudicating on land disputes throughout the district. But in recent times, especially since the advent of democracy in 1999, there has been a proliferation of so-called community development associations led by thugs instead of community elders or true members of the community.

These so-called community development associations are not known to grade roads, control erosion or provide security for the community but they collect dues in hundreds of thousands of naira and oftentimes trouble land developers preventing them from developing lands through violence and intimidation.
Many of the CDAs are notorious for selling lands to more than one person thereby creating lots of land ownership crisis in the state. Also they levy developers of lands all sorts of illegal and unaccountable levies which makes development of property in Benin frustrating and unattractive.

The pronouncement on Sunday by the Benin monarch elicited jubilation throughout Edo with many residents of Benin City hailing the decision as one of the best pronouncements since his ascension to the ancient throne.

Barrister Abraham Oviawe, a civil rights activist and resident of Benin City hailed the decision at Agenda Setting Forum saying, “Great. Peace will reign in communities now”

Mr Austen Ehiguese said, “The great Oba has just started well, God will bless him for us”

However, many community development associations leaders, many of whom are leaders of a certain political party in Edo State, have started to murmur in hushed tones but in Benin the Oba’s word is law to a very large extent.

It would be recalled that ahead of the coronation ceremonies of Oba Ewuare II, the Benin traditional council had announced the prohibition of all funeral ceremonies and banned all burial activities in the kingdom till further notice.

Victor Ofure Osehobo Nigerian Pilot Newspapers Correspondent, Benin


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