By Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity
Office of the Vice President
Federal Government is committed and will adopt all necessary measures that will lead to the amicable and just resolution of the land dispute between indigenous people of Abuja and the Nigerian Army, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.
Prof. Osinbajo stated this today during a meeting with a delegation of Gbagyi leaders comprising political office holders, traditional and youth leaders, at the Presidential Villa. He disclosed that a meeting with the military on the matter would also be held soon.
Last week Tuesday, on his way to the airport to launch the Homegrown School Feeding Programme in Ekiti state, the Vice President ran into some protesters at Goza village. The protesters who had mounted a road block were surprised when the Vice President came out of the car and abandoned his convoy to engage with the angry youths. It was during the interaction that the VP promised to meet the group and work on a resolution, culminating today’s meeting.
Prof. Osinbajo while noting that he had personally briefed President Muhammadu Buhari on the matter and his encounter with the protesters, also conveyed the President’s concern on the matter to the delegation with assurances for a just resolution.
According to the Vice President, “what is very important now is that we do not allow a situation where things are not done according to the law, that we do not allow a situation where due process is not followed. It is also important that this issue is resolved amicably and justly.”
The Vice President then directed officials of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) present at the meeting to produce a comprehensive report on the disputed land.
Earlier, Sen. Philip Aduda, the Senator representing the FCT at the National Assembly, dismissed the claim by the Army authorities that the land was allocated to it and appreciated the intervention of the Vice President.
Also, the Secretary, Area Councils Services Secretariat, Sen. Isa Maina said the FCT authorities in an effort to address the issue has already proposed to allocate an alternative plot of land to the Nigerian Army in Kwali.
He claimed that contrary to the directive by a Presidential Committee (set up to resolve the matter) that all parties involved in the matter maintain status quo, the Nigerian Army has proceeded to construct structures on the disputed land.
On his part, the Emir of Jiwa, His Royal Highness Idris Musa said the indigenous people of Abuja are not against the Nigerian Army in any way but want a just and amicable resolution of the matter.
In the same vein, the representative of the youths, Mr Dalhatu Musa who had spoken last week for the protesters when the Vice President interacted with them on his way to the airport noted that the youths wanted due process to be followed in the resolution of the land issue.
He commended the intervention of the Vice President and appealed to him to also look into other issues affecting the indigenous people of the FCT.
Those present at the meeting include the senator representing the FCT in the National Assembly, Sen. Philip Aduda; the Secretary, Area Councils Services Secretariat, Sen. Isa Maina; Chairmen of AMAC, Abdullahi Candido; Bwari Area Council, Mr. Shekwogaza Gabaya and Abaji Area Council, Abdulrahman Ajiya; Emir of Jiwa, HRH Idris Musa; the Ona of Abaji, Alhaji Yunusa Adamu and youth leaders from the affected communities.
The disputed land covers over 7,000 hectares cutting across Gwagwa, Idu, Zuba and Giri communities in the Federal Capital Territory