Chiefs from the Palace of the Oba of Benin and members of the royal family on Friday frowned at the plans by the Edo State government to acquire lands in some parts of Benin like Ogbe-Ezoti which they said are traditional and sacred grounds.
Besides, they also frowned at the way the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) was awarding contracts and giving employment to the detriment of the youths in the host communities.
Addressing a press conference in Benin City, Iyase (Prime Minister) of Benin Kingdom, Chief Sam Igbe on behalf of the chiefs and members of the royal family said “We wish to draw the attention of the Edo State Government to the significant role of Ogbe-Ezoti in Benin Kingdom. The Ogbe-Ezoti, which was named after Oba Ezoti, is the portion of the Oba of Benin Palace that occupies the “Aro-Oto Shrine”.
The traditional ground is mainly occupied by Palace functionaries who from time immemorial perform sacred traditional rites within the domain on behalf of the Palace of the Oba of Benin. It is forbidden in Benin Kingdom or corpse to be interred within the length and breadth of Ogbe.
“The Ogbe-Ezoti Traditional Ground is one of the sacred traditional grounds in Benin Kingdom such as Usama Traditional Ground in Siluko Road, Ugo N’Erhie Traditional Ground in Upper Sakponba Road, Edaiken Traditional Ground in Uselu, among others.”
They backed the recent protests by some residents in the area protesting plans by the state government to take over the area for state reasons and appealed to the state government to rescind the decision.
On NPDC awarding contracts without consideration for the locals, he said As a matter of fact, the indigenes of host communities are usually considered for such contracts in other states. We wish to inform the company that control of the youth is getting beyond our capacity, hence we appeal to management of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) to rescind the contract award with a view to considering the indigenes of host communities for the sake of peace and tranquility”