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Published On: Mon, Jun 22nd, 2020

365-year-old Benin heritage site faces extinction

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By Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin

Over 60 worshippers have deserted a popular Benin heritage site, “Odede Shrine, following a protracted land tussle between a property developer and the family of Mr. Osasere Ekhator Ohonba of Ugbekun, Ihinmwinhin quarters, Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area of Edo State.
The heritage site offers a unique insight into the lives of African Traditional religion (ATR) since the past 365 years, is facing extinction under the rubric of the outlawed Community Development Association.
According to the Chief Priest, “That Shrine was bequitted to us by our forebears more than 366 years ago.
“As I speak, more than 60 worshippers have stopped worshipping there since the crisis started due to the activities of these strangers”.
In a paper titled “A case of illegal constitution of the outlaw Community Development Association, falsification of land documents, forcible entry of land, wanton sales of Ekhator family land and conduct likely to cause a breach of peace against Mr. Odion Osayande Obasohan, Monday Osadolor, Benjamin Osaghae, Courage Obasohan, Lee Osazuwa, Johnbull Omoigui and others signed by Osamwonyi A. Ibude & Co., the Chief Priest (Ohonba) of Ugbekun, Thin Within, Mr. Osasere Ekhator, appealed to Edo State governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki Oba of Benin, Ewuare II and the Inspector General of Police to call one Mr. Odion Osayande Obasohan, Monday Osadolor and others to stay off their family’s land.
Ekhator, alleged that he is the rightful owner of the land (property) measuring 1000 Feet by 1000 feet (One Thousand Feet by One Thousand feet) lying and situating at Otofure/Ekhator Community, Ikpoba Okha Local Government Area, Edo State.
He recalled that way back in 2019, he discovered that his late father George Ekhator Ohonba was the worshipper of Odede Shrine as the Chief Priest in Ekhator Village and that he left a large expanse of land measuring 1000 feet by 1000 feet lying and situating at Otofure/Ekhator Community, Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area, Edo State.
He also alleged that the parcel of land is covered by a perimeter survey plan showing Ekhator family’s land in the Village and the Oba of Benin approval.
He stated that the clandestine move began when one Odion Osayende Obasohan and some members of the Community Development Association started allocating the said land to themselves and other prospective developers without recourse to ancient traditional landmark.
But, in his swift reaction, Mr. Odion Osayende said the matter is already in court, adding that he has nothing to say on the matter at the moment.

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