Zaria peasant farmers petition El-Rufai over alleged land-grabbing

Nasir-El-Rufai Kaduna state gov

A peasant community at Make, Tukur-Tukur village in Zaria, has petitioned the governor of Kaduna, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, urging him to restore their farmlands, which were allegedly appropriated by some individuals with the active connivance of the Kake ward head and a top traditional title holder in Zaria.

The petition dated July 12, 2020 and signed by Malam Shitu Abdullahi Dikko and Alhaji Mohammed on behalf of all the petitioners and accompanied by documented proofs of ownership, prayed El-Rufai to direct all authorities involved to allow the affected peasants access to their farmlands.

The petitioners recalled that in June 2020, they raised the alarm on the “unlawful takeover” of their farmlands to which Elrufai promptly responded by directing the Kaduna State Urban Planning Development Authority (KASUPDA), to act on the matter and report.

“We are aware that the officials of KASUPDA visited the site in question, interacted with a number of the affected peasants and carried out on spot assessments of the place,” the petitioners said.

They however regretted that the relief that came with the Governor’s intervention was short-lived as they learnt from the ward head, the Tukur-Tukur District Head and the Zaria local government council, that they were barred from accessing the farmlands pending the outcome of an enquiry set up by government.

“We learnt that government had directed an interim stay of activities on all parcels of land in the area that were allocated by Danisan Zazzau, Alhaji Akilu Idris, the late district head of Tukur-Tukur pending the conclusion of the committee’s work.

“As a result, all peasants, who are the complainants in this case, have been asked to halt activities on the disputed pieces of land even though they have no bearing whatsoever to the ones that might have been allocated by Danisa Akilu Idris as envisaged by the government directive,” they said.

The estranged farmers lamented that by extending the application of the said order to their farms, that have no bearing whatsoever with the allocations made by Danisa Akilu Idris, their interests have been grossly jeopardized.

“We are compelled to draw such inferences that suggest the state government might have been honestly misdirected to believe that all the parcels of land in dispute were allocated by Danisa Akilu Idris.

“Government was not made aware that most of the parcels of land in question were duly and appropriately acquired long before the late Akilu Idris was made Danisa and assigned as Tukur-Tukur district head.

“That the parcels of land in dispute were acquired by either lawful purchase or inheritance by the complainants who have farmed on them decades before Danisa Akilu Idris’s tenure,” they said.

Going into specific details, the petitioners pointed out that Malam Shitu Abdullahi Dikko inherited his piece of farm from his father, the late Limamin Tukur-Tukur, Malam Abdullahi who purchased it for N4000 on 08/11/1410.

“Malam Aliyu Tambai purchased his piece of land from the late Sarkin Anguwar Bisa for N65,000 on 05/06/2003.

“Alhaji Dahiru Harande (Danjume) purchased his piece of land from Malam Lawal Sadau for N12,000 on 09/12/1996.

“The heirs of the late Alhaji Muhammadu Bello (Mai Taya) inherited from their father who purchased the piece of land from the late Sarkin Tukur-Tukur, Muhammadu Tukur on 08/03/1988.

“Alhaji Mohammed Balarabe purchased his piece of land from the late Sarkin Anguwan Bisa for N100,000 on 15/01/2007.

“Malam Musa Abeku purchased his piece of land from Reverend (Barr) Gora Emma Tabat for N210,000 on 12/08/2003. Reverend Tabat it from Malam Abdullahi Danlaure of No 89, Anguwar Iya, Zaria city for N200,000 on 06/08/2002,” the petitioners said.