Edo State Government Clarifies Status of Oba of Benin’s Position and Funding

In an official statement released by the Edo State Government, it has reaffirmed the uncontestable leadership of the Oba of Benin, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II, over all traditional rulers and chiefs in the state. The Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Chris Osa Nehikhare, clarified that the funding allocated to the Oba has not been reduced, contrary to misleading claims.

The statement highlighted that the financial support to the monarch has increased under the leadership of Governor Godwin Obaseki. This increase has been attributed to the inclusion of Value Added Tax (VAT) and excess crude components in the funding structure since Governor Obaseki’s tenure began.

The Edo State Government further emphasized the Oba of Benin’s unchanging role as the permanent head of traditional rulers in the state. This role is protected by the Traditional Rulers and Chiefs Edict of 1979, particularly Section 45.

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Recent disagreements among some traditional rulers prompted an agreement between the state government and the traditional rulers to temporarily hold the funds in a central pool. This agreement was in effect between April 2023 and July 2023.

The government clarified that despite misinformation suggesting a fund withholding from July 2022 to July 2023, all statutory payments were made until April 2023. The funds were held in the central pool to address outstanding administrative matters. These issues have now been resolved through cooperation between the Edo State Government and the palace delegation, led by Chief Sam Igbe, the Iyase of Benin.

The pooled funds are currently being disbursed to various traditional rulers across the state, including the Benin Traditional Council. The disbursement amounts to a total of N1,316,746,764.13, with specific distributions to different senatorial districts. This disbursement aims to foster security, intelligence gathering, and community development within local government areas.

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The Edo State Government denounced the spread of false statements and misinformation by certain individuals attempting to create a crisis between the government and the palace. The statement urged the public to be cautious of such misinformation and affirmed that all actions were taken within the bounds of the law. The government reiterated that the Oba of Benin remains the permanent chairman of both the Edo State Council of Traditional Rulers and Chiefs and the Benin Traditional Council (BTC).

As the government continues its efforts towards harmonious living and inclusive development, it remains committed to ensuring the engagement of all stakeholders in the state’s progress.

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