The House of Representatives, on Wednesday, received two petitions bothering on forceful occupation and seizure of land in Plateau State.
The petition was laid by Hon Simon Davou Mwadkwon, a member representing Barkinladi/Riyom Federal Constituency of Plateau State.
In his lead debate, Hon Mwadkwon who requested the leave of the Speaker, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, to lay the petition, explained that the petition was authored by two groups including ‘The Rehabilitation Centre for Crisis Victims in Nigeria’.
“Mr Speaker, it is a petition against the exclusion of customary landowners who ate now internally displaced persons and legitimation of forceful occupation, seizure of lands in Barkinladi/ Riyom Federal Constituency.”
This is coming barely 48 hours after the Deputy Speaker, Hon Idris Wase ruled out of the order, Hon Mark Gbillah (PDP-Benue), who brought a petition from a group of Nigerians in Diaspora under the aegis of The Mutual Union of Tivs in America (MUTA) against the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Recall that the Group had in its 5-page petition dated February 15, 2021, solicited for the House intervention to ensure “Expeditious return of all the Internally Displaced Tiv People across Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba States to their Ancestral lands,” was co-signed by MUTA President, Mr Simon Kusugh and Prof Joseph T. Zume, IDP Committee Chair.
The group alleged that “since 2013, armed Fulani herdsmen have repeatedly wreaked havoc on communities in 20 of the 23 Local Government Areas of Benue State, massacring thousands of people, destroying communities, and often, totally obliterating economic and cultural assets. Consequently, hundreds of thousands of displaced families now occupy 27 IDP camps across the state, with many more cohabiting with relatives in unpalatable conditions.
“More depressing is that large swaths of the lands vacated by the victims have been occupied by their violators. In Kwande LGC, for example, the communities of Moon have lost their lands to armed herders who now graze their cows freely on those lands while the real owners languish in IDP camps.
“The story is similar in Guma and a few other Local Governments of the State. It is no secret that any IDP who attempts a return to these lands scarcely makes it back alive. This is very unsettling, dehumanising and amounts to blatant violation of the victims’ citizenship rights.”
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Petition: Reps to probe forceful occupation, seizure of land in Plateau