Tension is heightened in Benin, the capital of Edo State as youths of Uhunmwoke Orhuma Ewuare village, Ikpoba Okha Local Government Area of the state clashed with members of Believers Love World (AKA Christ Embassy) over a disputed land.
Protesters blocked the ever-busy Sapele Road, Benin City as they carried placards with different inscriptions such as, “Edo Commissioner of police has been bribed by Christ Embassy”, “Pastor Henry and Pastor Tom are using Police Commissioner to grab our land”, “CP leave our land alone” among others.
Reacting, the Odionwere (Elder) of the community Pa Ogieva Edonmwenyi, slammed Christ Embassy of attempt to grab their land in the village, narrating that the village had no place to farm or build houses again.
According to the community head, they had written to the founder of the church, Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, and equally visited his church and till date, they had not seen him, so the youths had no option but to go in and take over their property.
The protesters lamented: “Our women have no place to farm and that is why they are protesting. He brought police to harass us in our community. We have 500×500 Oba land there, including our community shrines. Go there, the place has become kidnappers den, there are skulls of humans killed by kidnappers. We are pleading to the governor to save us.
Angry youth leader of the community Mr Daniel Omoregbee, noted, “We woke up this morning to see about twenty Hilux Vans filled with policemen in our community and they have been harassing us since morning. We are begging the Oba of Benin, Euware ll and the Edo State governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki to come and help us.”
Also speaking, the Camp Manager, Believers Love World Camp Ground, Benin City, Mr Clement Aikpokpo, stated that the church bought the land from Obe Community (a neighbouring community) in 2006 and obtained a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O)in 2010.
“We bought this land 2006 from Obe community and when we started fencing, some communities, about three of them came out and said they own part of the land. When they came out, they were all settled, we even went to the late Oba of Benin, Oba Erediawa, who settled it for us.
“We have fenced it round since 2006 when we bought the land, the community has not deemed it fit to come and say, the land belongs to them. Why now?” he asserted.