Bauchi residents protest forceful ejection from houses, farmlands at Shadawanka (Pictures)


Bauchi residents protest forceful ejection from houses, farmlands at Shadawanka (Pictures)

Residents of Shadawanka community surrounding Army Barracks in Bauchi Local Government Area (LGA), of Bauchi State have protested the forceful ejection from their houses and farmlands by the Bauchi Emirate council and officials of the Nigerian Army.

Men and women from the communities carrying placards and chanting solidarity songs blocked the Bauchi-Jos road highway, leaving travellers and other road users stranded for over five hours.

The intervention of the Security Adviser to the Bauchi State Governor, Brigadier General Marcus Yake, convinced the protesters to open the road with a pledge that government and all stakeholders involved will meet to resolve the matter peacefully within 24@hours.

Some of the protesters, Habibu Abubakar, 25-year-old; Aishatu Sani, 54-year-old, and Hadiza Ahmadu, 70-year-old, who spoke to reporters said they have been in their villages for over 150-years, adding that they inherited the lands from their forefathers and have been utilising it to reside, graze livestock and for farming. They said that has been their only means of livelihood.

The residents alleged that since during Gowon’s administration between 1972 to 1974 when Shadawanka barrack was built, they lived there and the barrack was separated from the communities but between 1982 to 1985, a part of Shadawanka was demarcated to be used as Shadawanka and Obienu barracks, and the communities did not in any way form part of the two barracks.

The communities further alleged that in 2019, a memorandum of understanding was prepared by the Bauchi Emirate Council and some members of the community were forced to sign the document without their knowledge since they are illiterates, without mincing words the document was not made in good faith.

On Saturday, the representative of the Emirate and the representative of the Army asked the communities to vacate the lands because Army want to fence their land for security reasons.

They said as citizens of Nigeria, the constitution guarantees their rights to ownership of their lands, some communities were paid compensation but they were not paid.

“How can they eject us from our lands? since when the matter came sometimes back, the Army traced and realised we haven’t been paid a Kobo since, during Gowon administration, we appeal to the Bauchi State Governor Senator Bala Mohammed Abdukadir to intervene and save our community. We shouldn’t be forced out of our lawful homes under his watch. They lamented.

The communities members said they want to be treated fairly and justly.

Responding, a source at the Bauchi Emirate Council said “The issue has been lingering because I can recall when General Tukur Buratai was the Chief of Army Staff, there was a fracas between the Army and the communities, they took their complaints to the emirate and the emirate intervened and broker peace. When the emirate reached out to Buratai and appeal for an amicable resolution of the issue, the status quo was maintained and the army fenced the non-disputed area and now in the interest of security, they want to fence their land.

He appeals for caution and understanding to avoid anything that will lead to the breakdown of law and order in the State.

Similarly, the Special Adviser to Bauchi State Governor on security, Brigadier-General Yake (Retd) said the intervention was made by enlightening the community to understand that the people plying the road, many of them have nothing to do with the barracks or the community, they are innocent travellers, and shouldn’t be involved in anything that will lead to the destruction of. lives and properties.

He, however, pledged to brief the Governor and to summon all stakeholders in order to resolve the matter amicably. Yake plead with the Army and the contractors handling the project to maintain decorum as he assured that everything will be resolved within a short period of time.

Bauchi residents protest forceful ejection from houses, farmlands at Shadawanka (Pictures)


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