Members from five communities surrounding the Shadawanka Barracks in Bauchi city stormed the National Human Rights Commission office on Thursday to present their petition over their forceful eviction by the Nigeria Army and Bauchi Emirate Council.
The leader of the communities under the auspices of Concern People of Shadawanka Communities, Abubakar Yunusa said that they were complaining about their forceful eviction by the military and Bauchi Emirate Council from their ancestral land, which they have been occupying for over 200 years.
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“These communities have been living in peace with the military for over 45 years when the barrack was established in 1976.
“On 22nd of November 2021 at the DSS office in Bauchi, the District Head of Miri made a threat to our lives and properties by telling us openly that the military was trained to kill and should they kill us nothing will happen. That’s is why we are here today in our hundreds to let the Human Rights Commission be aware of the threat on our lives and property,” Yunusa said.
He said that the communities have no alternative than to write and seek for justice from the commission.
The representative of Kundamu village, Abdulrazak Muhammad, said that the communities are worried about the recent utterances of the District Head of Miri Hussaini Abubakar of his unguarded statements threatening them.
“We want to make it boldly clear that we are not slaves but law abiding citizens that respect constituted authorities including the Emir of Bauchi.
“We regard his utterances calling us slaves as his personal opinion and not the position of the Bauchi Emirate Council. We are appealing to both federal and state governments to come to our aid on the plan for forceful eviction from our ancestral homes,” Muhammad said.
The State Coordinator of the Commission, Yachit Dada, assured the communities that the commission will begin consultations with all the critical stakeholders on the matter and promised to ensure justice to all parties.
However, the District Head of Miri, Alhaji Hussaini Abubakar Othman said that the communities are being misguided and instigated by some people to defy all government efforts to resolve the lingering faceoff.
“What I know about the issues of the communities is that the Nigeria Army has set up committees on the recovery of their land encroached by civilians across the country. Here in Bauchi, there are civilians residing in military land, which they have been paid compensation long time ago.”
The monarch explained that the military is now taking back its land and the people are saying they are not leaving where they were born and brought up by their forefathers.
“Some of the people are claiming that they were not compensated. I remember the army general who was leading the committee said if they bring out military records of owners of the land compensated and found the names of anyone whose parents’ names appear, such a person will be evicted but they all keep quiet.
“When the army gave the quit notice to the communities two years ago, the Emir of Bauchi personally travelled to Abuja and visited the then Chief of Army Staff, General Tukur Buratai and pleaded with him that the inhabitants were his subjects and seek extension of the quit notice for another year to find an alternative place for them. General Buratai there and then, extended the notice to one year.”
The traditional ruler disclosed that Bauchi State government through the intervention of the Emir of Bauchi, Dr Rilwanu Suleiman Adamu has provided 100 hectares of land to relocate the people.
He said that the Emirate Council has no intention to evict anybody, instead, it is working with the government to provide a conducive environment for the communities. “The 100 hectares approved by the government is five times bigger than their present land and enough to cater for their farmlands, houses and other facilities for their wellbeing and continue with their normal life without any disturbances.”