From NOAH EBIJE, Kaduna
Hundreds of protesting youths yesterday clashed with some Kaduna landlords over ownership of plots of land believed to have been used over the years as cemetery which township expansion hadcaught up with. The rampaging youths, Daily Sun learnt, were against the landlords converting the burial ground to commercial centres called mechanic village in Kurmin-Mashi, Kaduna South Local Government area of the metropolis.
In the fullness of their anger, the youths were said to have gone to the cemetery in the early hours of yesterday and dug four tombs for mock burials of their perceived enemies, but were immediately sent away by the police and soldiers on patrol. But in a swift reaction, according to eyewitness, the landlords mobilized themselves and quickly leveled up the empty tombs, even as the youths were quoted as, saying,: “This place is for the dead, we will not allow anybody to convert it to a business place.
We are fighting for the dead, it is the responsibility of the living to protect the dead.” It was gathered that on hearing of the news of the clash, the newly elected chairman of the council, Bala Isah Idris quickly intervened and solicited for peaceful settlement between the two warring groups. The council boss who spoke to newsmen declared: “I have directed that nobody should bury anybody here for now because I have constituted a committee to look into the problem. The committee has five members each from both sides with my vice chairman as the chairman of the committee.”
Also, the District Head of the area, Mohammed Abduljalal told newsmen: “It is a long time crisis. People are angry because the place is now within a residential area. But people should not take law into their hands. We want peaceful settlement.” Meanwhile, solicitors to the landlords of the mechanic village, F A Ahmad has written a complaint letter to the Kaduna State Commissioner of Police, the Commissioner for Land and Survey among others, to wade into the matter with a view to finding lasting solution to it.
The letter of complaint dated May 8, 2012 was entitled, “Complaint of criminal trespass, unlawful conversion of occupied residential plots to cemetery and threat to public peace and security.” The letter read in parts, “our reasonable conclusion therefore is that, the conducts of these people i.e their act of trespassing, their conversion of our clients area or surroundings to burial ground and their prepared assault or planned attack, are totally uncalled for.
“To say the least, same, aside being inimical and threatening to public peace, it is endangering the public health, injurious to both human and mental psychological feelings and above all, a great abuse of both natural and environmental norms.”