Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has said the state government has concluded discussion with the Chief of Army Staff to retrieve possession of a landed property.
The property, a parcel of land, is situated near Oregbeni Market, along Ikpoba Hill, in Benin City which the Nigerian Army is laying claim to.
Obaseki had disclosed this while receiving the new Comptroller, Nigeria Immigration Service, Edo State Command, Rabi Garba, at the Government House, in Benin-City.
Obaseki said the state government will commence physical retrieval of the land soon.
In terms of land where you currently operate from, I spoke with the Army Chief of Staff when he visited last month. We have been assured that the Nigerian Army has formally relinquished the land. It is now for us to take physical possession of the property.
The Chief of Staff will arrange a tripartite meeting between the Federal agencies occupying that property, the Brigade Commander and Edo State Government. So that we can commence the process of getting the Nigerian Army to vacate that land, giving the Federal agency the proper allocation, Certificate of Occupancy to expand their office.
According to the Edo governor, his administration will get the issue of the land settled on time to enable the Immigration Service carryout their official function to the fullest.
The move by the Edo State Government to retrieve the property from the Nigerian Army is coming sever weeks after Governor Obaseki appealed to the Nigerian Army to set up a base in crime-prone areas in the state, especially on the Benin–Auchi Road axis.
Obaseki made the appeal while hosting the Chief of Army Staff, Faruk Yahaya, who led other senior officers on a courtesy visit to Edo Government House.
He said at that time:
First, l have to commend you and your men for the cooperation we’ve continued to enjoy from your end.
Having said that, I want to add that we are having security challenges in the state such as kidnapping, especially between the Benin – Auchi axis.
We have military formations in Edo South, also Auchi and Agenegbode, both in Edo North Senatorial District.
And because the 120 kilometers between them do not have any military presence, it has been difficult for the military to respond either from the South or North when there is an incident.
While I appeal to the Nigeria Army to heed our request, the state government will give all necessary support if the army can consider setting up a forward operating base between the distance of the North and South senatorial district.