Evbo – Isibor raises alarm over Dispute Committee resolution
By Abavo Kingsley, Benin
Evbo – Isibor Ewuare in Egor Local Government Area, Edo State has raised the alarm over recent resolution of the Benin Customary Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee between Evbotubu and Iguotor villages which they said has made them a sacrificial lamb.
The people of Evbo – Isibor Ewuare led by their odionwere (traditional village Head) Osaro Igbinavbie told journalists that more than half of their land mass has been ceded to Iguotor, a neighbouring village to serve as boundary between it and Evbotubu village by the Committee even when they were not party in the dispute.
They said this is contrary to earlier resolution of the dispute in 1975 by Oba Akenzua, and in 2007 by Oba Erediauwa respectively.
The Monarchs had resolved that 200ft be mapped out beginning from the Nim tree (Ikhimwin) at Iguotor to serve as the demarcating boundary between the two disputing villages, and not Evbo – Isibor Ewuare land mass to be ceded away to Iguotor to serve as boundary, they pointed out.
They raised the alarm that the resolution of the dispute by the Monarchs have been suddenly up – turned to say that the old Nim tree at Evbo – Isibor Ewuare close to the Oguedion (Native Hall for ancestors sanctuary) should be the new boundary between Evbotubu and Iguotor villages.
This, they cry out did not only divide the village into two (one part in Egor, and the other in Ovia – North – East), but cedes their land away to Iguotor.
Rejecting resolution of the Committee, the Odionwere and his people said they would not allow balkanization of their land to serve as boundary between neighbouring villages. They complain this is tantamount to being used as sacrificial lamb in a dispute they are not involved.
According to the Odionwere, Evbo – Isibor Ewuare has been on its own over the years and not in any way under the authority of Evbotubu as stated by the Committee in its resolution. The only time it had dealings with Evbotubu was during the era of the banned Community Development Association (CDA) but it has since disengaged to continue to be on its own, he added.
Evbo – Isibor Ewuare was founded in 1767 about 300 years ago and ever since had been autonomous the people said faulting the ceding of their land mass to serve as boundary between Evbotubu and Iguotor which they pointed out is entirely in Ovia North East Local Government Area while they are in Egor.
Evbo – Isibor Ewuare has boundary with Iguovon, Evbotubu by the moat at Oredo, Iguedayi, and Iguotor by the extreme of Egor Local Government Area with Ovia North East Local Government Area, the Odionwere said.
Osemwenu Igbinogun, an elder of the village corroborated the Odionwere statement reiterating that all the villages including Evbo – Isibor have remained autonomous and have never existed as unified entities.
Igbinogun faulted resolution of the Committee saying it is in contradiction to earlier resolution of the dispute by Oba Akenzua, and Oba Erediauwa.
William Ayowie Ehigie also speaking said that the Committee resolution as it stands, means forceful take – over of Evbo – Isibor land which according to him is evil, which should not only be condemned but urgently reversed.
This is as Orhue Idiagbonya, native of Iguedayi said Evbotubu has boundary with Evbo – Isibor by the moat. He adds that all the villages are autonomous including Evbo – Isibor. Iguotor land boundary has no extension up to Evbo- Isibor as it has been wrongfully resolved by the Committee.
The people appealed to Oba Ewuare II, Edo State Government, and all relevant authorities to urgently intervene in the raging controversy before it spills over into unpleasant consequences.
The Committee on Wednesday, 15 November, 2017 in its resolution noted that the real dispute is whether the Nim tree planted which was meant to be in fulfillment and execution of the decision of HRM Oba Akenzua II on 3 September, 1975 and 7 February, 2007, was done accordingly.
“It was noted that Iguotor village had claimed a natural moat was the demarcating boundary between them and their neighbor; Evbotubu.
“In 2007, the Panel constituted by Oba Akenzua II had directed that 200ft measurement from the old Nim tree (Ikhimwin tree) into Evbotubu land be ceded to Iguotor village as the boundary point between the two villages.
“Iguotor village through their representative; Mr. Reuben Agho had told the Oba Panel way back in 2007 that the people of Evbotubu village under the leadership of the chairman, Mr. Samuel Ugiagbe JP encroached on their land , and created a new and false boundary point between them.
Iguotor village through Reuben Agho had appealed for the intervention of the Oba.
The Committee in its resolution stated from available evidences before it; “Iguotor Community does not have its boundary up to the moat but by the Nim tree (Ikhimwin) within Ago – Isibor settlement area.
“The boundary between Iguotor and Evbotubu is obviously by the Nim tree near the Oguedion. The Committee also stated; that it has considered one of the items of recommendation made by the Chief Aronba led – Panel;
“That 200ft measurement on land shift from the old Nim tree (Ikhimwin) into Evbotubu Community land, should be consented (sic: conceded) to Iguotor community as the boundary between the two communities.”
Consequently the Committee pointed out thus; “It is highly probable that if 200ft is taken from the Nim tree towards Evbotubu land, the Oguedion and any other structure, and even perhaps part of the land of Agor – Eghobamien covered by a certificate of occupancy since 2004 will be affected.
“We cannot see from surrounding facts and circumstances of the dispute the need for such recommendation. The boundary as decided by the Oba is fulfilled by the Nim tree (Ikhimwin) being the boundary between Iguotor and Evbotubu within Agor – Isibor.
“We therefore so resolve and say in order that the boundary dispute may no longer arise; a road constructed close to the Nim tree to end in Evbotubu road should be done.”
Hon. Justice S. O. Uwaifo JSC (rtd), CON is the chairman of the five – man committee which has Hon. Justice S. O. Elaiho, Judge (rtd), HRH. Prof. G. I. Akenzua, OON, Mr. Daniel Inneh and Surveyor James A. Osazuwa, (fnis) as members