- A joint legal suit is awaiting Governor Godwin Obaseki at the Community Court of Justice of Economic Communities of West African States (ECOWAS)
- Obsaki who recently earmarked several forests reserves for a palm oil project was sued by communities of the earmarked areas
- The counsel to the plaintiffs prayed to the court to issue an order to stop the Governor Obaseki from taking over the forest reserves
According to This Day newspaper, no fewer than 45 agrarian communities whose forest reserves are at risk of a government takeover filed a joint suit before the Community Court of Justice of Economic Communities of West African States (ECOWAS) in Abuja.
Legit.ng gathered that the lawsuit with the reference number; ECW/CCJ/APP/22/22 was tabled before the court on Wednesday, May 11 by the Incorporated Trustees of the Okpamakhin Community Initiative (first plaintiff), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) comprising farmers and other land users drawn from the cluster communities (clans) of Orhue, Ozalla, Ora, Iuleha, Sobe and others.
It was gathered that the second plaintiffs are eight farmers and land users of the forest zone in the soon-to-be-affected communities.
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Obaseki earmarks forest reserves for N69bn palm oil project
It will be recalled that few months back, the governor made an announcement stating that his administration has earmarked several forests reserved for a palm oil project in collaboration with the Central Bank (CBN) which will amount to N69 billion to set up the project.
A sequel to this announcement prompted the coalition of some relevant stakeholders to institute the suit against the governor.
It was gathered that in a lawsuit of this caliber, the statutory defendant is the federal government which will stand in for the state government because of the stipulations guiding the ECOWAS court.
As contained in the suit, the plaintiffs prayed to the court to help protect their ancestral possession against the administration of Governor Obaseki which had been ceded to private investors without prior notification of consent.
Similarly, part of the prayer wants the court to issue an order that will stop Obaseki from forceful takeover.
It was also gathered that the land within the two forest reserves of Owan BC 10 Forest Reserve and Iuleha/Ora/Ozalla, forming a larger part of the Owan Forest Zone, are the communities’ mainstay acquired by the British colonial government, which was duly accountable to local communities, owners of the land, unlike the Edo government that is acting with flagrant disregard.
Group blasts minister for closing Dei-Dei market over okada riders, traders clash, accuses him of apartheid
Edo PDP: Crisis erupt over alleged manipulation of delegate list by Gov Obaseki
In another similar report, Governor Obaseki is currently facing backlash for allegedly tampering with delegate lists.
Some stakeholders and politicians of the Edo state chapter of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) raised an alarm that the ad-hoc delegate list is being manipulated by some powerful personalities in the government.
A close source revealed some members are planning to dump the PDP in the state for the Labour Party and still want to bring in their preferred candidates even after the defection.
2023 presidency: Sam Ohuabunwa visits Edo PDP delegates, leadership
Meanwhile, as consultations by presidential aspirants with constituents continue across the country, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa has visited leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State.
Ohuabunwa, who is contesting under the umbrella of the party, arrived Edo State Saturday April 24, and immediately paid a courtesy visit to the state chairman of the party, Mr Tony Aziegbemi.
He had also paid a visit to stakeholders of the party, including delegates with whom he shared his vision and mission.