SPOTLIGHTS

  • Over 10,000 hectares of land allegedly seized
  • Communities claim the land grab is linked to President Tinubu
  • Fear and tension grip the communities due to alleged intimidation tactics
  • Calls for intervention from the Governor, Attorney General, and the Senate

From Godwin Tsa, Abuja

Tension is building in Nasarawa State over the alleged unlawful and forceful acquisition of over 10,000 hectares of land belonging to the Tiv community by the state government.

The Tiv community in the state, in a protest letter addressed to Governor Abdullahi Sule, has called on the Attorney General of the Federation and the Senate to intervene. They claim the state government’s actions violate their fundamental rights and threaten their security and socio-economic well-being as farmers.

The petitioners stated that the Nasarawa State government’s decision to take over their ancestral land is disguised as an agricultural programme that “President Bola Tinubu has an interest in it.”

They listed the affected communities as Akaha, Utsuwa, Usula, Udugh, China, Shankodi, Ikyorchiha, and Ayarkeke in the Obi/Awe Local Government Area – communities that rely heavily on their ancestral lands for farming and survival.

The petitioners, through their counsel, Jerry Aondo, claim that the state’s decision to deprive them of their land without offering alternatives is unjust, illegal, and against natural justice.

He stated that both the process and the action of the state government are in clear violation of their rights as Nigerian citizens.

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The communities alleged that the government, with the aid of traditional rulers and village heads, is coercively acquiring their land under the claim that “President Tinubu wants the use of the land.”

Furthermore, the petition said the communities’ ongoing hardships would be worsened by previous forced land acquisitions in the Awe/Doma Local Government Area.

These prior seizures, the petitioners argued, lacked a clear plan for balanced economic development and did not benefit the Tiv people of the state.

They noted that the atmosphere in the area is already tense, with the frequent unannounced deployments of security personnel leading to alleged assaults, arrests, and harassment of the people, all under the guise of government actions, thereby instilling fear among the residents.

Aondo alleges that “just last Friday a group of armed security operatives attacked the community leading to injuries and loss of properties and to the people.”

The petitioners called on Governor Sule to intervene urgently, expressing confidence in his administration’s ability to deliver justice.

They acknowledged the governor’s past efforts to restore peace and security to the Tiv people, who have suffered from communal crises resulting in loss of lives, property, and severe economic hardship due to displacement.

The communities are also appealing to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, the Office of the Senate President, and the Office of the Speaker for intervention.


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