Stop the illegal land seizure in Bauchi state

I would like to draw the attention of Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi state to the injustice meted to the poor people residing near old airport in Azare, Katagum local government of Bauchi state.

Sir, in the early morning of August 12, during a rainfall, some security personnel and court officials raided that aforementioned area and threw so many households out of their homes along with their furniture and locked them claiming that they had got a court order to do so because the land that those people had built their houses on belongs to one Dr Muhammad Bello Waziri Dogo. Which sort of court order is this without official notice and compensation?

In fact, this unwarranted raid is tantamount to that one we used to watch in Indian films in which a boss bribed a judge to give him a court order illegally with a view to seizing an estate that belongs to poor people and raid the area along with policemen and thugs. It was revealed that Dr Waziri wants to build a private hospital and this is why he wants to seize poor people’s land.

Sir, it is very painful to hear from eye-witnesses that during this unethical raid permitted by that illicit court order, one of the court officials pushed an eight-month pregnant woman in his attempt to throw her out of her house which resulted in her being hospitalised. What a terrible court order is this?

Dr Waziri’s claim of this unlawful ownership of that land has lingered for more than 15 years. I recall, he went to the late 11th Emir of Katagum, Dr. Muhammad Kabir Umar, and raised the case, but the emir told him that the land belongs to Kabir and his poor Katagumites, and that if he raises the matter again, he will place a curse on him.

It is well known to all of us that once a person gets a court order he needs to take some steps, such as official notice, sufficient time and compensation before he evacuates an area or land he built his house whether legally or illegally; and compensation must be paid to him. Is this legal seizure sir?

  Constitutionally, as you know sir, even when a government wants to construct a school, road, pipeline, mines, etc, compensation must be paid to those who built their houses even though every land belongs to the government. Section 44 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), provides that no individual’s land should be acquired without compensation. It should as well be noticed that payment of compensation for lands acquired should be prompt and not delayed unnecessarily.

When this illegal ownership of this controversial land was taken to the Court of Appeal by Dr Waziri during the immediate past administration of M.A Abubakar in Bauchi, the court discovered that the entire people living in the area have their legal ownership certificates of the Ministry of Land and Survey. The court dismissed the case because it did not present any certificate of possessing the land. After two years, unfairly Dr Waziri arranged a certificate for the land.

When the immediate past administration of M.A Abubakar reconfirmed legal ownership of that land for those poor people and gave Dr Waziri a large land near the federal government’s almajiri school here in Azare, on Maiduguri highway, Dr Waziri rejected it, threatening that he will surely recover his land with ultimate power. It was alleged that Dr Waziri has only 50/50 land with an overhead-water tank of Gilmor erected in it, but, unfortunately, he has been claiming ownership of more than 40 houses of almost 400 meters.

I, therefore, appeal to Governor, Bala Mohammed to intervene in this matter just as the immediate past administration of M.A Abubakar did. He should help wipe away these poor and helpless people.

Abdulwaheed Taninmu,

Unguwar Kaban, Azare,

Bauchi state


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