10 Years in Jail for Land Grabbing, Community Development Associations (CDAs) Abolished – Justice Eruaga (RTD)
By Abdul-Kadir Abdullah
In a resolute move to foster investment and progress, the Edo State Government has issued a stern warning that engaging in land grabbing and participating in activities associated with Community Development Associations (CDAs) is a criminal offense, punishable by a mandatory 10-year imprisonment without the possibility of a fine.
This bold proclamation came forth via a radio broadcast by Justice Alero Edodo-Eruaga (RTD) during the “Doing Business in Edo” program on Edo Broadcasting Service radio, 95.7fm, on Thursday, 7th September 2023, in the state capital of Benin City.
Justice Eruaga articulated how the actions of Community Development Associations (CDAs) and land grabbers have been detrimental to the state’s economic growth and investments over time. She emphasized that these activities would no longer be tolerated by the authorities.
Underlining the legal basis for these restrictions, Justice Eruaga referred to sections 6, 7, and 12 of the Private Property Protection Law 2021, which explicitly prohibit the activities of CDAs and land grabbers in Edo State. She elucidated that these legislative measures, including the establishment of the Private Property Protection Implementation Committee, are integral components of Governor Godwin Obaseki’s administration’s agenda to promote economic prosperity within the state.
Justice Alero Edodo-Eruaga (RTD) expounded upon the critical provisions of the Edo State Private Property Protection Law of 2021: “Section 6 of the law criminalizes land grabbing. Section 12 deems it unlawful to sell family land, while Section 7 makes it an offense to trespass on land with weapons or in groups with the intent to displace rightful owners. These offenses are punishable by a mandatory 10-year imprisonment, with no option of a fine.”
She also made a significant announcement: “The law has effectively abolished Community Development Associations, previously known as CDAs, along with any claims to business ownership based on a ‘settlement mentality.'”
To ensure public awareness and access to the law, she mentioned, “This program, ‘Doing Business in Edo,’ serves as an educational platform regarding land-related matters and the provisions of the Private Property Protection Law in Edo State. Copies of the law are available at the Edo State High Court premises or can be purchased at the Private Property Protection Implementation Committee office located within the government house.”
Furthermore, Justice Eruaga extended an invitation for inquiries and assistance: “Our office is also open to addressing various questions and providing free education on these matters. It is essential to recognize that, since the inception of this committee, we have successfully resolved at least 123 land-related cases, ensuring that all parties involved can return to their communities in harmony. These achievements are attributed to Governor Godwin Obaseki’s proactive initiatives. Therefore, if you encounter any land-related issues, we encourage you to speak out. Assistance will be readily available.”
The “Doing Business in Edo” program, organized by the Edo State Investment Promotion Office (ESIPO), serves as a means of keeping Edo citizens informed about the government’s efforts to enhance the business climate in the state and facilitates feedback from the business community. This informative program airs weekly on Tuesdays at 11 am on TV and on Thursdays at 3 pm on the radio for the phone-in segment.