The Edo State Government has read the riot act to residents of the state who have encroached on land meant for its estates, warning that land grabbers will not be tolerated as the state implements its new property development reform and policies. Executive Chairman of Edo Development and Property Authority (EDPA), Isoken Omo, disclosed this when she visited Egor and Egbaen communities in Egor Local Government Area of the state at the weekend.
Omo advised host communities, land grabbers and illegal developers that have encroached on government land to urgently engage with the Edo State Government through the EDPA to ensure that they are not caught on the wrong side of the law. She said the state government was pursuing extensive reform and it would only be wise for those affected to engage with government to key into property development reform being implemented by the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration. “We are holding this meeting to ascertain the level of encroachment on the 86-hectare government land in this area earmarked for estate development. We intend to engage with the host communities to re-establish the perimeter of the land.” She said that from the preliminary findings of the agency, it was discovered that a four-bedroom bungalow, which is under development in Egor community, falls on the perimeter line, noting that such a building will surely give way. She noted that her team will be in the communities for some days to re-establish the perimeter of the land, noting that encroaching on government property is not peculiar to the communities, as such have been discovered at Ugbiyokho and Eyaen communities in the state. Omo commended Egor community for cooperating with EDPA in its reform, admonishing those in Egbaen community to be more responsive to government policies so as to resolve contending issues. “Order has to be restored to Edo State by the Governor Obaseki-led administration. We are now well positioned to woo investors to the state to enhance economic activities. But we need your buy-in. So, the reform we are pursuing will ease the coming of new investors into the state,” she said. Omoregie Augustine, a surveyor with EDPA, said the exercise is intended to establish the perimeter of the initial survey plan, adding “We want to assess what is on ground and compare it with the initial survey plan to establish the level of encroachments.” A property owner in Egor community, Rita Edodion, said many people in the community bought the land without realising that it belonged to the state government. She pleaded with the officials to help in resolving the apparent confusion so that they don’t lose their property.