Abuja might witness some uprising anytime soon going by the threat of Gbagyi indigenes, the native inhabitants of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
They insist that they are ready to take the law into their hands, unless their demands are expeditiously met. They accuse the authorities of failing to attend to their needs, with claims that FCTA officials charged with the responsibility of land allocation in Abuja, are interpreting a script written by their “enemies” that have vowed to erase Gbagyi ethnic group from the FCT.
Before the relocation of the seat of power from Lagos to Abuja three decades ago, the Gbagyi tribe and other minor ethnic nationalities were the original occupants of the entire land in the present-day FCT.
Years after, it seems their heritage and collective existence have come under threat.
The development has become a source of worry for the Gbagyi people, as they insist that their existence is under threat. They contended that they have been forced to repeatedly tell lies to their children who are inquisitive about their inheritance. And they are concerned that they are losing their identity and purpose of existence. So, they were forced to report the matter to FCT Minister Mohammed Bello, after several other earlier plans.
The Gbagyi leaders in their recent letter to the minister asked him to compel his officials to stop allocating their ancestral lands to private property developers without seeking their consent.
Part of the letter reads: “We appreciate your honest desire to resolve our concern on security threat and trespass to our ancestral lands which you directed the legal department of the FCTA to handle.
“But there is need to inform you that the legal department, for reasons best known to them failed or refused to act on your directive. And now, rather than improvement, our communities are being dragged to court, while private property developers harass and intimidate our communities with police and military.
“Posterity will testify to our peaceful and patient disposition, that we have exercised during these years of unlawful and unfair invasion of our ancestral lands by Federal Government, its agents and individuals, who acquired our inheritance through ‘improper means’, wherein we have been reduced to third class citizens and our existence gradually heading to oblivion.”
Chairman, Garki Kingdom Elite Forum, Mr. John Bawa, told journalists at a recent press conference in Abuja, that UAC company, few months ago brought a land allocation letter to him claiming ownership of entire Durumi 3.
“That was the height of wickedness from the FCTA and its officials to us. It was also an indication that there was collusion with private property developers to dispossess our people of their ancestral lands and make them strangers in their own land but that would be unrealistic.”
Bawa added: “We receive complain on daily basis from our people in different parts of Abuja, about some people coming to their house or farmland with allocation letter from FCTA to claim ownership of our ancestral land. That is pure absurdity and wickedness from FCTA and it will be met with resistance.
“We have taken decision not to fold our arms and watch our heritage being destroyed, and our ancestral homes, farmlands being allocated to private property developers by FCT administration without adequate compensation and resettlement. We have kept quiet enough.
“Years of this wicked practice had not only caused us huge loses but exposed us to varieties of menace, insecurity and other hazards. We receive inhuman, indiscriminate and inconsiderate treatment on daily basis from private property developers and we won’t accept that anymore.
“Invasion of our lands had led to the alteration of biosphere that had caused outbreak of epidemics, rendered us homeless and deprived us of our source of livelihood.
“In as much we are committed to the unity of Nigeria, we must stress henceforth, that constant invasion and violation of our natural inclination towards peace was being stretched to the point that we might be left with the only option of revolts against the system.”
The legal representative of the indigenes, identified as Barrister James Ndeye, said they were no longer interested in compensation or resettlement but outright revocation of the allocation of lands/settlement being occupied by the original inhabitants.
The spokesman of the original inhabitants association, Comrade Yusuf YunZusa, appealed to Federal Government to respond to the plight of the Abuja indigenes before they activate violence mood.
He said: “Records have shown that government is always unwilling to respond to the plight of the people until they rise in arms. But we don’t intend to go that way but use legitimate and peaceful means to pursue our course.”
The FCT Director of Resettlement, Bakura Umar, admitted that the indigenes have not been treated fairly by previous FCT administration, but he assured them that the current FCT administration was committed to their welfare.
He said:”paucity of fund was largely responsible for the slow implementation of our plan for the indigenes. We might not be as fast expected by the indigenes but highlighted that significant steps were being taken to resolve the issue.
“We received media reports that they want to rise in defence of their heritage but we appealed to them to be more patient so that FCT administration could diligently implement its programmes for them.”