L-R: Majority leader Edo State House of Assembly, Folly Ogedengbe, Speaker Edo State House of Assembly, Justine Okonoboh, Deputy Speaker Edo State House of Assembly, Mrs. Elizabeth Ativie, Governor Edo State, Godwin Obaseki (Middle), Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, PS Edo State Ministry of Justic, Wole Iyamu, during the signing of the bill into law.

As part of its awareness programmes and initiatives for enforcing the Community Development Association law, the government of Edo state has confirmed that a Town Hall Meeting on private properties protection is being organized for the benefit of its citizens.

The law, ‘Community Development Associations,’ CDAs seeks to end the activities of such groups, encourage investments and above all protect the rights of widows and orphans.The new law “would prohibit forceful entry into people’s landed property and protect widows’ rights to their husbands’ property.”

A statement from the Office of the Chief Press Secretary to the governor confirmed this, adding that the event, which has been scheduled for July 14, 2017 at Imaguero College Hall in Benin City, would enlighten and educate the people on the Community Development Association law, so as to avoid ignorance of the law.

According to the statement, the general public, including community based associations, Non-Governmental Associations, religious groups, market women associations, students, traditional institutions, professionals in the built environment among other stakeholders are invited and expected to attend the one-day town hall meeting.

“We are not interested in prosecuting anyone, but we will get them involved by giving them orientation to ensure that everyone becomes conversant with the law and they don’t run foul of its provisions, as the law is no respecter of person,” he said.

It would be recalled that Governor Godwin Obaseki had inaugurated a committee headed by former Inspector General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase to enforce the PPP law, monitor the CDAs and other group activities, ensure compliance with the provisions of the law, prohibit CDAs and other groups from selling landed properties or collecting any related fees or levies, and help apprehend or direct to the security agents any person or persons found contravening the law.
Earlier, Governor Obaseki had described the provisions of the law as a historical milestone that would encourage the growth of local investors in Edo State.

“My administration believes that the way to sustainable development is to unleash and nurture our productive energy and that of investors. Investment will not thrive in a lawless environment; it is a thing of pride that we signed this bill into law,’’ he said.

According to the Governor, the Community Development Associations destroyed the traditional land tenure system, which served the people prior to the advent of colonialism.

“Our land tenure system before and during the colonial era was rated as the best, but it had been turned around by some nefarious activities of CDAs,” he stated.

The Governor urged the State’s Chief Justice and security agencies to support the implementation of law, saying “we have constituted a task force chaired by the retired Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, to drive the enforcement of the law and supervise all matters related.”

He urged unemployed young persons, particularly those affected by the law, to key into the State’s owned youth empowerment scheme for alternative means of generating income.

By Henry Aguma