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Minister In Trouble Over Land

Kingsley Madaki, Abuja

The dying days of the Goodluck Jonathan administration, are not turning out fine for Minister of the Federal Capital territory, Bala Mohammed, as indigenous people of the territory have, during a peaceful protest, passed vote of no confidence on him. Calling for his sack, the natives expressed their anger over what they described as “sponsored maltreatment, endless fear and torment by his administration”. The natives, who trooped out in large numbers, labelled the Bala-led administration as “inhuman” which through its land swap policy turned FCT Indigenes to strangers in their ancestral homes. Leader of Kpaduma community, and the former councillor of Garki ward, Hon. Bala Iyah said that despite the fact that the community is still contesting the matter of illegal demolition of their houses in court; the FCTA also used several other means to humiliate and molest the original inhabitants of the community.

“Our desire is still being denied by the FCTA and that is why we are staging this peaceful protest just to pass a vote of no confidence on the FCT minister, Sen. Bala Mohammed, for not respecting the court order restraining further demolition of houses in our communities and continuous harassment from allottees. “The Minister should set up a ministerial committee for us to dialogue on how to go about the settlement of issues between our communities and the FCTA. “We respected that order, we are presently on the settlement state and we have arrived at what we want. But, despite the court order, the Minister has failed to comply. “Up until now, as I am talking to you, people from the FCTA and allottees are still disturbing us; they are still threatening our lives.

The Minister promised us that pending the determination of our case in court, there will not be demolition in our communities, but they are still disturbing our peace with endless threats of demolition”, he said. According to him, the natives no longer have confidence in the administration of Sen. Bala Mohammed. “We do not trust his methods of allocating land to people in the FCT. There is no sincerity in what he is doing to us as indigenes of the FCT, because all his policies are anti-indigenes, his policies do not favour us at all. “We are treated like strangers in our own land by this administration. Enough is enough. So, we are using this opportunity to call on the incoming administration to probe the present administration of Sen. Bala Mohammed. “That the incoming administration should set up committee to investigate how the minister forcefully claimed plots of land from indigenes and sold to his cronies. “If any lapses are found in the land allocation method, then such allocation should be revoked. Our plots of land have been forcefully taken from us, without compensation or proper alternative means of survival.

“The truth is that, since we started having ministers in the FCT, we have never seen a worse Minister like this present one. “He said he has the interest of the original inhabitants in mind, and if he truly has us in mind, what has he done to prove it to us? “Since the inception of this present administration, we have been living in constant fears in the FCT because, the minister has not done anything positive for us, rather he has been forcefully collecting our land and allocating them to himself, his families and friends from Bauchi State”, Iyah noted. Iyah further noted that the land allocation scheme of the minister has denied the natives lands to farm on, adding that the situation portends danger for the people. “As it is known, our people are mainly farmers, but because of the way the minister has collected our land, our people no longer know what to do to make ends meet, since there are no more plots of land for us to farm on.

“As a result of all these things that we are experiencing in this present administration of Sen. Bala Mohammed, we are completely kicking against the resettlement policy of the FCT and we are calling for better integration plan for indigenes of Abuja by the incoming administration. “We are also calling on the administration to adequately compensate indigenes for their farm produces that were destroyed when their farmlands were forcefully taken from them”, he said.

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