Abuja indigenes yesterday shutdown official activities in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) due to renewed protest against alleged forceful takeover of their land at Tunga Maje village by military authorities.The natives, who blocked the FCT Ministry’s main entrance, resulted in severe gridlock that lasted for over three hours, while staff and passers-by were stranded as security agents watched helplessly.
The protesting natives said they were at the Secretariat to register their grievances over the continuous FCT Minister, Muhammad Musa Bello’s continued silence over the matter.Last week, The Guardian had reported that one of the natives was killed, while four others sustained various degrees of injuries following the land dispute between the natives and the military.
One of the leaders of the community, Adamu Isyaku said: “We are here on a peaceful protest to let the FCT Minister know that he has failed us since the matter started and had resulted to loss of a life with others sustaining various injuries.“He never cared about it and even now that they are in hospital, the military officials are working on the land. The minister does not care about our plight, since the matter started and that is why we have come to let him know about it.
“Soldiers are destroying our farmlands and crops without providing alternatives. He should act because he is in charge of the FCT.”Also speaking, another leader of the area, Yunusa Yusuf, told Journalists that it was worrisome for Bello not to take any action despite the natives’ continued protest and complaints.
Attempt by the FCT Commissioner of Police, Bala Ciroma to placate the protesters was unsuccessful, as the aggrieved natives refused to yield to the CP’s plea. They insisted that the Minister or Permanent Secretary, Chineaka Ohaa, should address them, stressing, “Otherwise, we are not going to relent on our struggle.”Although security agents called some members of the protesting natives into a closed-door meeting with the Permanent Secretary, details of the meeting was not made public, as journalists were denied access to the venue.