Plateau groups petition governor over alleged land grabbing by Fulani invaders

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Five groups in Plateau State, Emancipation Centre for Crisis Victims in Nigeria (ECCVN) in collaboration with Atakar Development Association (ADA), Berom Educational and Cultural Organization (BECO), Irigwe Development Association (IDA) and Ron Kunlere Development Association (RKDA), have petitioned the state governor, Simon Lalong, over alleged land grabbing by persons believed to be Fulani invaders on native communities.

The petition titled “A petition against land grabbing by Fulani invaders on native communities in parts of Barkin Ladi, Bassa, Bokkos and Riyom LGAs of Plateau State“, was submitted to the Executive Governor of Plateau State at the Government House in Little-Rayfield, Jos, through the Secretary to the State Government on 26th November, 2021.

It was signed by Dalyop Solomon Mwantiri, Esq. for ECCVN, Mr. Benjamin Shaweng, Chairman of frontline Communities, Da Gyang Dalyop Dudu, President of BECO, Mr. Robert Ashi, President of IDA, Dr. Markus Avom, President of ADA, and Pharm. Aaron Matawal, the Acting National Coordinator of Ron Development Association.

In the 30-paragraph petition, the groups elaborated how at least 102 communities suffered at the hands of the land grabbers while being denied justice by relevant authorities.

The petition comprehensively included the affected communities annexed by Fulani jihadists in Plateau State, the district, Local Government Area and the time the communities was annexed.

The petitioners prayed, amongst other things, that the natural and traditional rights of the victims of land grab should be respected, guaranteed and enforced under the extant laws of the land.

They also sought for adequate financial compensation be recommended for payment by culprits, occupiers and government to victims for the losses and disruption on account of land grab and annexation of other properties.

See the petition below in full:

1. INTRODUCTION

1.1 Plateau State of Nigeria has continued to witness increasing cases of attacks by armed Fulani herdsmen since 2001 on hamlets, villages and communities translating into destruction of houses, displacement of persons, illegal occupation of sacked hamlets and villages as well as the denial of access and seizure of farm lands against the provisions of the Land Use Act and, indeed, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended). This is essentially the background for the enactment of the Anti-Land Grabbing Law of Plateau by the Plateau State House of Assembly, and signed into law by His Excellency, Rt. Hon. (Dr) S. B. Lalong on the 24th day of December, 2020.

1.2 The Plateau State Anti Land Grabbing Law in its form and intent, as far as ECCVN in collaboration with Atakar Development Association-IDA, Berom Educational and Cultural Organization-BECO, Irigwe Development Association-IDA and Ron Kunlere Development Association-RKDA (hereinafter referred to as “the Associations”) are concerned, seek to add credence to the aforementioned legislations that prohibit any person or group of persons from the forcible takeover of land and/or landed property belonging to either a native, citizen, non-citizen or government in Plateau State.

1.3 Presently, the inauguration of a Task Force to deal with the situation in line with the law is being awaited to provide necessary data and information about the scope, locations, and perpetrators of this crime preparatory to further State action and policies that would deliver justice to the victims in all fours.

2.0 GROUNDS

2.1 In the considered view of Emancipation Centre for Crisis Victims in Nigeria-ECCVN and the associations (affected ethnic nationalities), this development is highly welcomed and, indeed, long overdue. It is also a golden opportunity for ECCVN and the associations, on behalf victims of land grab to petition the Plateau State Government on the following grounds:

2.1.1 That all Communities and individuals affected by this crime should have unfettered access to justice as well as the opportunity to state their cases irrespective of either their knowledge or financial capacity to institute a legal action;

2.1.2 While considering the impact of this crime on the victims, all dimensions of such an impact should be duly taken into account for the sake of justice, equity and good conscience; and

2.1.3 The law in its entirety should be pursued and diligently implemented to its full extent in terms of the constitution and inauguration of the “Land Grabbers Task Force” according to Clause 22 and 23 p. 18 & 19 of Anti Land Grabbing Law of Plateau State, 2020.

2.2 In addition to the aforementioned grounds, ECCVN and the aforementioned associations on account of this petition, herewith demand the following from the Plateau State Government:

2.2.1 A clear State action/policy which enjoys adequate appropriation towards securing and the rebuilding of affected hamlets, villages and communities;

2.2.2 Provision of Development Assistance for the purposes of Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Restoration of affected hamlets, villages and communities; and

2.2.3 Provision of a Medium and long-term Stabilization Grants and Projects of between 3-5 years and/or 7-10 years warranting start-offs of livelihoods, employment and skills acquisition upon the return of victims to their ancestral homesteads.

2.3 For the avoidance of doubt, ECCVN and the said associations have provided below a list of hamlets, villages and Communities in the general area of Barkin Ladi, Bassa, Bokkos, and Riyom LGAs which have suffered and are affected by land grab.

2.4 COMMUNITIES ANNEXED BY FULANI (JIHADISTS) IN PLATEAU STATE

S-N / Community / District / LGA / Time annexed

1. Krunkwa Miango Bassa 2015-2017
2. Rotsu Miango Bassa 2015-2017
3. Nzhwego Miango Bassa 2017-2018
4. Jiri Miango Bassa 2017-2018
5. Ri-Meli Miango Bassa 2017-2018
6. Ri-Bakwa Miango Bassa 2017-2018
7. Ri-Nju Miango Bassa 2017-2018
8. Chuvoh Miango Bassa 2017-2018
9. Nkienwhie Miango Bassa 2017-2018
10. Nzwherenvi Miango Bassa 2017-2018
11. Ganda Daffo Bokkos 2018
12. Hotom Wereng Daffo Bokkos 2018
13. Fubok Mandung Daffo Bokkos 2018
14. Fubok Faram Daffo Bokkos 2018
15. Farandong Hai Daffo Bokkos 2018
16. Morok Daffo Bokkos 2018
17. Nghakudung Daffo Bokkos 2018
18. Fangha Daffo Bokkos 2018
19. Shilim Daffo Bokkos 2018
20. Rotchun (Renamed Rafin Acha) Riyom Riyom 10/9/2001
21. Rankum village (renamed Mahanga) Riyom Riyom 10/9/2001
22. Darin Riyom Riyom 28/4/2013
23. Hywa (renamed”Lugere”) Riyom Riyom 10/9/2001
24. Fass(renamed”Tafawa”) Riyom Riyom 10/9/2001
25. Janda Riyom Riyom 8/2/2010
26. Shong I Bachi Riyom 29/6/2012
27. Shong II Bachi Riyom 29/6/2012
28. Rakweng village Bachi Riyom 29/6/2012
29. Dashugu village Bachi Riyom 29/6/2012
30. Diyan-Hei village Bachi Riyom 29/6/2012
31. Shonong Bachi Riyom 26/12/2014
32. Maseh (renamed “Lugel”) Bachi Riyom 7/7/2012
33. Kampwas, Shonong village Bachi Riyom 7/7/2012
34. Kasa of Shonong Bachi Riyom 7/7/2012
35. Palang Bachi Riyom 23//6/2018
36. Nanja-Hei of Shonong Bachi Riyom 23/6/2018
37. Kuk of Shonong Bachi Riyom 23/6/2018
38. Zere of Shonong Bachi Riyom 23/6/2018
39. Nzong of Shonong Bachi Riyom 23/6/2018
40. Ret-Nzere, Tahoss Riyom Riyom 7/7/2012
41. Ninja-Hei, Sopp Bachi Riyom 7/7/2012
42. Seh of Shonong Bachi Riyom 7/7/2012
43. Rahol of Tahoss Riyom Riyom 7/7/2012
44. Ranchol of Sopp Bachi Riyom 7/10/2013 & 30/8/2015
45. Davwak Jol Riyom Riyom 10/9/2001
46. Nangam of Sopp Bachi Riyom 30/4/2014
47. Kak of Sopp Bachi Riyom 30/4/2014
48. Dajak of Sopp Bachi Riyom 30/4/2014
49. Attakar Ganawuri Riyom 14/3/2014
50. Nantwa Tahoss Riyom Riyom 7/7/2012
51. Nicha of Sopp Bachi Riyom 7/7/2012
52. Wull of Sopp Bachi Riyom 30/8/2015
53. Chicham of Atakar Ganawuri Riyom 8/2/ 2014.
54. Kirim of Atakar Ganawuri Riyom 8/2/2014
55. Ucham of Atakar Ganawuri Riyom 8/2/2014
56. Bassat of Atakar Ganawuri Riyom 8/2/2014
57. Mayit of Atakar Ganawuri Riyom 8/2/2014
58. Tingamagwe of Atakar Ganawuri Riyom 8/2/2014
59. Zadiyen of Atakar Ganawuri Riyom 8/2/2014
60. Bubwat of Atakar Ganawuri Riyom 8/2/2014
61. Lyoho of Jol Riyom Riyom 10/9/2001
62. Dakar of Jol Riyom Riyom 10/9/2001
63. Darel Jol Riyom Riyom 2001
64. Rachos of Kwi Riyom Riyom 2013
65. Sara Tahoss Riyom Riyom 2001
66. Rangyeng-Bwat Tahoss Riyom Riyom 2011
67. Gwara Dadep of Sopp Bachi Riyom 2011
68. Tanjol (partly) Riyom Riyom 2001-2018
69. Tarai Riyom Riyom 2001-2018
70. Ningon village Gashish Barkin Ladi 7/7/2012
71. Bisichi (partly) Foron Barkin Ladi 30/4/2014
72. Rahol-Mazat village Ropp Barkin Ladi 14/4/2015
73. Kai village Gashish Barkin Ladi 19/2/2014
74. Mallel Gashish Barkin Ladi 19/2/2014
75. Bel of Sho Ropp Barkin Ladi 9/3/2015
76. Rahei Sho Ropp Barkin Ladi 3/4/2015
77. Zim village Ropp Barkin Ladi 19/5/2015
78. Jong village Ropp Barkin Ladi 19/5/2015
79. Rabuk village Ropp Barkin Ladi 19/5/2015
80. Luk-Fei village Ropp Barkin Ladi 19/2/2014
81. Lobiring Ropp Barkin Ladi 19/5/2015
82. Ngio Gashish District Gashish Barkin Ladi 7/7/2012
83. Kachin Gashish Gashish Barkin Ladi 7/11/2012
84. Soi Gashish Gashish Barkin Ladi 23/6/2018
85. Ruku, Gashish Gashish Barkin Ladi 23/6/2018
86. Tissan, Gashish Gashish Barkin Ladi 23/6/2018
87. Ku-bong Gashish Barkin Ladi 21/2/2014
88. Rahwol Bachom (Angwan Alade) Gashish Barkin Ladi 21/2/2014
89. Rakwok Ropp Barkin Ladi 21/2/2014
90. Kereng (Kafi Abu) Gashish Barkin Ladi 21/2/2014
91. Hwol Layal of Gassa Ropp Barkin Ladi 2001
92. Wong of Ropp Ropp Barkin Ladi 2007
93. Nshi-peng of Ropp Ropp Barkin Ladi 2007
94. Fagawang of Fan District Fan Barkin Ladi 
95. Rarin of Sho Ropp Barkin Ladi 30/8/2015
96. Ku-jei Sho Ropp Barkin Ladi 2/2/2015
97. Pwabeduk Gashish Gashish Barkin Ladi 7/7/2012
98. Hyai village Gashish Barkin Ladi 7/7/2012
99. Kufang Gashish Barkin Ladi 7/7/2012
100. Sharu village Gashish Barkin Ladi 7/7/2012
101. Dogo village Gashish Barkin Ladi 7/7/2012
102. Rantis Gashish Barkin Ladi 7/7/2012

2.5 Furthermore, the Emancipation Centre for Crisis victims in Nigeria with the affected associations have equally provided an outline of the ramifications and impacts of land grabbed on its victims. These considerations are indeed, an integral part of the experiences of victims, especially in terms of inaccessibility to ancestral homelands, threats and intimidation, exploitation and general impoverishment which victims continue to suffer in the face of grabbed lands.

2.6 Therefore, it would be pertinent for Government to take cognizance of the full implications and costs of the damage occasioned by this crime.

2.7 While considering the cost of grabbed lands to the victims, it is imperative to note the following:

2.7.1 The duration and time of the invasion and occupation of the properties;

2.7.2 Opportunity cost incurred in terms of the denial of access to streams, routes to farms and gardens, dams for irrigation and fish ponds as well as economic trees and plantations; and

2.7.3 Houses, Worship places, Schools and clinics, Markets, shops & kiosks, canteens and restaurants, mills and workshops, transportation inconveniences; Vehicles, Cars, motorcycles, tricycles and bikes amongst others.

2.8 It is also important to note that most of the victims of land grab themselves own Cattle, sheep, Goats, Pigs, Chicken and other animals. Therefore, their losses should include a wide variety of livestock.

2.9 Similarly, in terms of crops, cereals and vegetables, it should be clear that a lot of these form the backbone of subsistence and indeed income of many individuals and households through the production, processing and marketing of cash crops such as Fonio (Accha), Finger-Millet, Peas Sorghum, Potatoes, Tomatoes, Beans, Pepper, Banana, vegetables amongst others.

2.10 In this sense, it is pertinent to note that when an individual or family loses their lands to grabbers for so many years, it is not difficult to establish the direct link between such losses with hunger, unemployment, poverty and apathy.

3.0 PRAYERS

On the whole, ECCVN alongside the associations passionately praying the Plateau State Government to, as a matter of urgency, pursue both legal and restorative justice by ensuring that:

3.1 The natural and traditional rights of the victims of land grab should be respected, guaranteed and enforced under the extant laws of the land;

3.2 An express order of evacuation be made to all illegal occupiers and users of lands, dams, ponds, streams, homes and other properties;

3.3 A machinery be not only put in place to identify lands and properties grabbed and the trespassers, but a means also be devised to guarantee the protection of victims upon return to their homesteads;

3.4 For the losses and disruption on account of land grab and annexation of other properties, a Technical Committee of Valuers be constituted in order for adequate financial compensation be recommended for payment by culprits, occupiers and government to victims;

3.5 All customary lands should be duly registered and documented, under the law of the land;

3.6 Where necessary, Forest Rangers and Livestock Guards should be constituted, reactivated, strengthened, empowered and integrated with Land Administration Protocols of Government; and

3.7 Any other step/prayer deemed fit in the circumstance(s) of this petition.

4.0 CONCLUSION

4.1 It is the firm belief of the petitioners that Justice remains the bedrock of peace, progress and development in all human societies. Therefore, the Plateau State Government and all its agencies owe all citizens who have suffered the menace of land grab and other crimes the duty of upholding justice in the face of this evil and man’s inhumanity to man.”

The petition was copied to:

1. The Executive Secretary of National Human Rights Commission, FCT Abuja.
2. The State Coordinator of National Human Rights Commission, Plateau State.
3. His Majesty, the Gbong Gwom Jos and Chairman of Plateau State Council of Chiefs and Emirs.
4. His Royal Highness, the Braa Ngwe of Irigwe, ag Chairman Bassa Traditional Council.
5. His Royal Highness, ag Saf Ron, Chairman Bokkos Traditional Council
6. The Distinguished Senator representing Plateau North, National Assembly Abuja
7. The Distinguished Senator representing Plateau Central, National Assembly Abuja
8. Hon. Member representing Riyom/Barkin Ladi at National Assembly, Abuja
9. Hon. Member representing Mangu/Bokkos at National Assembly, Abuja.
10. Hon. Member representing Barkin Ladi LGA at Plateau State House of Assembly.
11. Hon. Member representing Bassa LGA at Plateau State House of Assembly
12. Hon. Member representing Bokkos LGA at Plateau State House of Assembly
13. Hon. Member representing Riyom LGA at Plateau State House of Assembly.
14. The Commissioner of Police, Plateau State Police Command.
15. The Commander of Operation Safe Haven-OPSH, Plateau State Headquarters, Jos.
16. The President of Nigerian Bar Association-NBA, National Secretariat, FCT Abuja.
17. The President of Christian Lawyers Fellowship of Nigeria-CLASFON, FCT Abuja.
18. The Director of State Security Services, Plateau State.
19. The Plateau State Commandant, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corp
20. The Permanent Secretary on Security, Plateau State.
21. The Coordinator, Operation Rainbow Headquarters, Plateau State
22. Conference of Autochthonous Ethnic Communities Development Associations (CONAECDA).
23. The Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Plateau State.
24. The Chairman, Christian Lawyers Association of Nigeria (CLASFON), Plateau State.
25. Plateau Initiative for the Development and Advancement of Natives (PIDAN).
26. The Hon. Chairman of Bokkos LGA
27. The Hon. Chairman of Bassa LGA
28. The Hon. Chairman of Barkin Ladi LGA
29. The Hon. Chairman of Riyom LGA
30. The Chairman of Plateau Youth Council.

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