ARMSTRONG ALLAHMAGANI, Bauchi
The Administrative Committee of Inquiry which looked into the land dispute between Farmers and Herders in Zadawa Ward of Hardawa District, Misau Local Government Area which led to the death of about 10 people has recommended that the Emir of Misau, Alh. Ahmed Suleiman, be directed to write an apology letter to the State government over his actions and inactions in the crisis.
Recall that the Bauchi state governor while speaking during the inauguration of a 13 man Administrative Committee of the Misau farmer/herder on July 3rd, 2020, at the Government House, announced the suspension of the Emir to allow the committee effectively carry out their assignment without any interference.
But the Senior Special Assistant on Media to the Bauchi state governor, Muhktar Gidado, in a statement made available to journalists in Bauchi on Saturday, said that the committee in its report submitted to the state government on 25th September, 2020, recommended that the government should warn the Emir of Misau dereliction of duty which fuelled the crisis.
He said: “Various Administrative sanctions have been taken against some Traditional institutions found to be culpable or complicit in the crisis.
“Government has accepted the recommendation of the Committee to warn the Emir of Misau, Alh. Ahmed Suleiman, for dereliction of duty which fuelled and escalated the fatal crisis in his domain. The Emir is to equally apologize to the Government in writing.
“Government has also accepted the recommendation of the committee on the District Head of Chiroma Alhaji Ahmadun Amadu. The District Head remains suspended pending another investigation. Should he be found wanting he will be removed and prosecuted.”
According to him, the committee also recommended that the Misau Emirate Council is to ensure that Ibrahim Yusuf Atiku is immediately relieved of his appointment as the Wakili of Zadawa Village Head.
“Government also accepts the recommendation of the committee for the Attorney General/Commissioner for Justice to liaise with the Commissioner of Police Bauchi State to arrest and prosecute Ibrahim Yusuf Atiku for fraudulent allocation of the forest and extortion of money from the allotees.
“The Emirate Council is to equally ensure that Ibrahim Yusuf Atiku is barred from aspiring to the office of Sarkin Zadawa in the event the position becomes vacant,” he stated.
The governor’s Media Aide further said that the Director of Administration and General Services Mal. Sule Abba, the Director of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mal. Baba Waziri and the Director of Works, Aminu Abdullahi Disina, all of Misau Local Government Council are retired from the Civil Service.
He said: “Government has equally accepted the recommendation of the committee for further investigation of the 16 identified persons who were alleged to have vigorously participated in masterminding and fuelling the crisis.
“The Secretary to the State Government is directed to ensure that the Police and Local Government Service Commission are involved in the investigation.”
He said that the committee recommended some various degrees of financial Assistance to families of 10 people who lost their lives in the clash as well as 8 persons who sustained injuries and whose properties were lost as a result of the crisis.
He added that the government has accepted the recommendation of monetary assistance in that regard and has directed the Secretary to the State Government to ensure the payment of such relief or assistance to all the affected persons.
“Government hereby re-iterate that the entire dispute between farmers and Herders in Zadawa that led the loss of innocent lives and properties would have been avoided if laid down procedures on land allocation, especially the forestry law and the law of the State governing the preservation of grazing reserves were adhered to and complied with.
“The Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development, Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Housing and Environment as well as Land and Survey are directed to implement the position of Government as captured in the whitepaper in order to ensure that justice and equity remain both the practice and the norm,” he stated.
The committee’s investigation, Gidado said, revealed that Malumje grazing reserve is a community grazing reserve and the allocation of parts of the forest reserve to Farmers or self-acquisitions of the forest as farm lands, are in contravention of the forestry law and laws of Bauchi State 2007.
He added that the state government has accepted the Committee’s recommendation for the total revocation of all the allocations including Farm lands that are self-acquired and Government has consequently directed the re-establishment of cattle routes in the reserve.
“Accordingly, all those farming in Malumje grazing reserve are doing so illegally. Government has directed that henceforth the reserve should be utilized for grazing purpose only. The Misau Local Government and the Emirate Councils are to ensure compliance.
“The Commissioners of Housing and Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development, Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs and Lands and Survey are directed to ensure compliance,” he stated
The Media Aide informed that the committee observed that there are illegal allocations of farm lands to individuals on the gazetted Forest reserves of Maladumba, Danfisa/Bokki, Gambara/Tofu and Umala/Jarkasa forests, in clear violation of the laws establishing forest reserves pointing out that “in line with recommendation of the committee these allocations are here-by revoked by the Government.”
According to him, “Government notes with regret, the violation of the terms of allocation of farmlands in the Kalala grazing reserve and the sharp practices in the exercise which deprives Herders of their rights of grazing.
“Government hereby revokes all previous allocations in order for peace to reign in the area.
“Government has consequently directed the Ministries of Land and Survey, Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Agriculture and Rural Development to constitute a committee to review the entire allocation of Kalala Community grazing reserve so as to address Farmers/Herders conflicts during the dry and rainy seasons.”
Muhktar Gidado assured the citizens of the state government’s unwavering commitment to the preservation of the forest and grazing reserves as well as farmlands in the state for harmony and peaceful co-existence to prevail in communities.
He said that government will henceforth apply the full weight of the law without exception for any infringement of rules and procedures in land allocation by all Local Government Councils.