Posted by News Express | 9 May 2019 | 564 times
A non-governmental organisation, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has appealed to the Nigerian Army’s high command to enter into constructive mediation and negotiation with the Gbagyi community in Abuja to achieve a truce over the protracted land ownership disputes.
In a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, and the National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, the rights group also offered to mediate in the dispute through a core team of expert mediators that partner with the civil rights body who have offered to work around the issue.
HURIWA reacted to the widespread media reports about an ongoing land ownership dispute between the Gbagyi village in Abuja and the Nigerian Army over alleged confiscation of the ancestral parcel of land belonging to the community just as the rights group said it was strategic that this dispute is put to rest so as not to constitute an unnecessary cog in the wheel of progress of the ongoing war on terror which it says demands absolute attention of the hierarchy of the Nigerian Army and the collective support and solidarity of all the good people of Nigeria so lasting peace, security and national stability are attained in no distant time.
HURIWA said it was aware that the Army has already displayed all the legal titles to that disputed piece of land and that the Army had even challenged the Gbagyi community to institute a legal challenge for the ownership of the land. However, the rights group said options for litigation isn't the best since it may take ages because of the cumbersome nature of filing and hearing of matters in the notoriously slow judicial system of Nigeria. HURIWA said even the immediate past Chief Justice of Nigeria had stated that mediation is quicker and mutually beneficial than litigation.
The group has therefore asked both warring parties to explore the options of an out of court resolution going by the fact that the army is the Nigerian People’s Army and must not be seen unduly dragging landed assets with any section of the Nigerian people.
“We want to use the media of mass communication to reach the Nigerian Army’s high command and the leadership of the Gbagyi village in the Federal Capital Territory on the urgent need for both parties to begin a sustainable mediation process so as to resolve all the issues around the ownership of the parcel of land.
“It is a fact that government through the governor has right to the land in accordance with the land use Act of 1978. The FCT in the constitution is recognised just like a state by legal status and so Mr. President acts like the governor of FCT. The portion of land in any part of Nigeria can be repossessed by the governor in accordance with the land use Act but must be for public interest. But the original owners of any land to be taken away must be carried along by the government in the whole drama of repossession and re-allocation of ancestral lands.”
HURIWA however believes that given the fact that the Nigerian Army has demonstrated good enough empirical evidence tying the institution to the valid ownership of the land, and in view of the fact that the original inhabitants may not have been carried along by the government which sold the land to the Nigerian Army, there is therefore the need for both parties to reach common but beneficial understanding.
HURIWA says in as much as the Army has legal titles to the land, the people who have ancestral and spiritual links to the land in dispute must be negotiated with and a mutual agreement reached. HURIWA said the NA under General Buratai has become professionally excellent and therefore urged the Army to talk to the protesters in a calm, measured and trouble free atmospheres.
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