By Samuel Luka, Bauchi
Four Fulani communities of Kangere District and Tirwun in Bauchi local government area of the state have pleaded with Governor Bala Mohammed to as a matter of urgency, intervene and save them from loosing their ancestral lands to Bauchi local government council.
Mohammed Sani who spoke on behalf of other affected people of Gilliri, Runde Bin, Natsira and Bagale on Monday said almost all of them are feasant farmers who rely solely on cultivation of land to earn a living.
He decried that the Bauchi local government authority has made their living condition unbearable by taking over larger parts of their farmlands, living them with only two hectares per household.
“I am here to speak on behalf of the Fulani communities of the affected area where Bauchi local government is taking over our farmlands of which we are getting our farm produce for survival”, Sani said.
“It all started one day, a group of people led by Sarkin Yamman Tirwun came from the Bauchi local government council that they were been assigned to come and take over our farmlands as authorised by the local government chairman”, he recalled.
“When they came, they claimed that they were directed by the local government chairman to take over some parts of our lands, living us with only two hectares per household. Now, let’s say some one with four or five sons that are married and lives in one house, how will two hectares of land be enough for them to site their house and at the same time farm there? Sani asked.
He noted that the action of the local government officials prompted them to write a letter of complain to the office of the executive governor of Bauchi state, Senator Bala Mohammed, seeking urgent solution.
Following their letter, Sani noted that the governor sent a delegation to the local government who called all the aggrieved Fulani communities to a meeting at the local government secretariat with a view to resolving the matter.
He said after the meeting, they were told to go back to their respective homes with assurance that, as soon as possible, some government officials will visit the affected areas to issue them with certificate of occupancy.
Sani lamented that even after that, the officials of the Bauchi local government has remained adamant in total disregard to the directive of the Governor.
The affected communities while pleading with the Governor to instruct the local chairman to return their farmlands, equallly urged the state assembly to make a law that will restrict them from tempering with people’s lands.
He said that the governor had made it categorically clear that for people to have lived in that place beyond 40 years, that has made them to become bonafide members of the area.
Sani who expressed fears that the situation if not checked, is capable of causing serious problem in the area, said as elders, they are doing everything possible to calm the youths, believing that governor Bala as an ambassador of peace will never allow it to degenerate to instability.
Sani who lamented that over 300 households are been affected by the action of the Bauchi local government authority, pleaded with the Governor to safe them.
“Our forefathers were given that place when it was a bush and we have been there for this very long time with the consent of Bauchi local government council”, he added.
According to him, “all this years, we have lived there without any problem, but one is left to wonder why we are undergoing this problem from the government that is supposed to cater for us”.
Sani who insisted that the affected areas were nothing bush a typical bush said, their forefathers laboured hard to clear it and make it what it is today.
“So, now that they see that we have cleared the land, after all the suffering, they want to frustrate us by taking the larger part of the land, living us with only two hectares, it is unfortunate and we are saying no to that”, he declared.
Sani also issued our correspondent a copy of a complaint letter dated 7th April, 2020, which was addressed to the caretaker committee chairman of Bauchi local government area.
The letter indicated that an official of the local government area had asked the residents of the four communities to pay the sum of N52,000 each so that they can be issued with their certificates of occupancy.
According to the letter, twelve people paid the said amount, totalling N624,000 but up-to the time of granting this interview, no certificate of occupancy has been issued to them.