By Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja
Chairman, Gwagwalada Area Council in the Federal Capital Territory FCT, Hon. Adamu Mustapha Danze has lamented the killing of his people by men of the Nigerian Army over a long stretch of land in the area, saying children who were made orphans as a result of the killings have constituted an extra burden for the Council as well as the Abuja Municipal Area Council AMAC which oversees a portion of the land.
He said since his inauguration as chairman of the council four years ago, the battle to reclaim the disputed land from the Nigerian Army has been vehemently resisted with its attendant casualties.
Danze spoke on Thursday when he received the Minister of State in the FCT, Dr Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu who was on tour of the disputed land in Tunga Maje.
According to him, despite the intervention of the National Assembly through various public hearings, innocent lives have been lost courtesy of the Nigerian Army.
The council boss therefore appealed to the Minister and other relevant authorities to use their good offices to resolve the issue.
According to him; “we have been battling with this issue to the extent that lives are lost from army’s bullets. Many homes are now orphans and the community is taking care of these orphans. We are in pain over this matter and we are appealing to you to take further action”.
Special Assistant on Media to the Miniater, Mr Austin Elemue quoted her as promising the indigenous people of Tunga-Maje that the land dispute between the community and the Nigerian Army would be resolved amicably by the highest authorities and justice done to both parties.
The minister however commended the community for not taking the laws into their hands, while assuring that if the disputed land was officially allocated to the Nigerian Army, resettlement and adequate compensation would be made to the natives.
“I must sincerely extend my appreciation to both the Chairmen of Gwagwalada Area Council and Abuja Municipal Area Council for calling on FCT Administration and the trust that the administration can resolve this lingering land dispute.
“I must also appreciate the Agora of Zuba and the indigenous people of Tunga-Maje for your calm disposition. You have demonstrated that you are indeed law abiding citizens. From the narration of the Agora, it has been a painful moment, but hopefully this time around, we will be able to take it to the appropriate quarters where the needful will be done.
“If indeed the land was allocated from the federal authorities to the Nigerian Army, of course consideration must be made for a new place to relocate to and of course to settle you by compensation.
“But before then, we will not jump the gun. Therefore, we want you to be law abiding as we go back to revisit the issues. Justice must be done. I want to appeal to you to be law abiding because the matter is not beyond the authorities to handle,” Aliyu assured.
The minister was earlier received on arrival by the Agora of Zuba, HRH Mohammad Umar Bello, who also told the minister of the pains the community had endured since the beginning of the crisis.
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