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Tiv communities seek remedy over ‘government seizure’ of 10,000 hectares for agriculture in Nasarawa 

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The Tiv indigenes have asked for a “remedy” regarding the alleged takeover of 10,000 hectares of their ancestral lands by the Nasarawa State Government given the latter’s agricultural plans. 

The Tiv Indigenes of Obi/Awe Local Government of Nasarawa State, stated this in a letter to the governor, Abdullahi Sule, made available to ThePressNG on Wednesday. 

The letter was signed by their lawyer, Jerry Aondo of the T.J. Aondo & Co. law firm. 

The development comes after the Nasarawa state government announced via its website that work had commenced in the area in line with the federal government’s food security initiatives. 

“His Excellency, Engr. Abdullahi A. Sule inspects a section of 10,000 hectares of the Nasarawa State Government farm in line with the Federal Government’s Food Security Initiatives. The farm in Jangwa, Awe LGA is suitable for rice and maize farming. 

“Work has started in earnest to take advantage of the rainy season,” the government stated on its website on  17th May 2024. 

In their letter seen by ThePressNG, Aondo stated that the development is taking place without remedy and an alternative source of survival for the dwellers of the land in dispute. 

He appealed to the governor that the plan to compulsorily acquire land in the Tiv Villages(Akaha Village, Utsuwa Village, Usula Village, Udugh Village, Ayarkeke Village, China Village, Ikyorchiha Village, Shankodi Village) “without a piece of legislation and memorandum designed for the public acquisition and common good of the Tiv people and the public at large will lead to the extinction of the people’s means of livelihood and permanent displacement.” 

The law firm drew the attention of the government to the insecurity and communal crisis its move might result in if its request is not urgently addressed. 

“We wish to place on record that, the 10,000 (Ten Thousand) ancestral hectares of land marked to be taken from the Tiv indigenes by the Government of Nasarawa State, using the instrumentality of various traditional rulers/village heads to acquire these lands forcefully for agricultural purposes, is meant to displace our people without remedy.  

“We believe if the Government requires our people to surrender their private rights for the common goal of all, same would be done through a memorandum of public consultation with the people in the various villages affected.” 

The law firm further stated in the letter that 60% of agricultural produce cultivated and sold in neighbouring villages and markets in Nasarawa State is majorly produced by the Tiv indigenes servicing Awe, Obi, Keana, Lafia and Doma Local Government Area of Nasarawa State. 

The lawyer urged the governor to note that the supply chain of agricultural produce has been ongoing in all the major markets in the state from time immemorial.  

“The Tiv indigenes of Nasarawa State have strong confidence in the ability, resolve, desire and willingness of your person and Government to put a stop to this show of power against its people,” the letter partly reads, and was copied to the Attorney-General of the Federation and the National Human Rights Commission(NHRC). 

While the community is at loggerheads with the state government, the agricultural revolution is no doubt a core aspect of President Bola Tinubu’s administration. 

Meanwhile, the president, in a television speech today, assured Nigerians of upholding democratic tenets while protecting the constitutional rights of the citizenry. 

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