3 January 2013

Nigeria: Abuja Natives Tackle University Over Compensation

Abuja natives under the auspices of Greater Gbagyi Development Initiative (GG-DIN) yesterday, demonstrated against the encroachment of their land by Baze University, a development they described as unlawful and unjust.

National coordinator of GG-DIN, Prince Gimba Gbaiza, who spoke when he led the natives to protest in front of the university site, said the indigenes had held several talks with the university authority but nothing fruitful had come out of the talks.

"The fact that we have come here shows that we want this issue to be resolved peacefully. We are law abiding people; we want justice for all the indigenes of the state. We have not been given a document in response to our letter for safe keeping. We have visited and dialogued but nothing has come out of it.

"The only feedback we were given is they will get back to us. The truth is we are becoming impatient and because our people do not understand the law, people just trample on our integrity. We want compensation for our land because the sources of our livelihood have been trampled upon by the university," he said.

Gbaiza gave the university authority till January 30 to resolve the issue, stressing that the natives would not give up on the matter.

"I want to be very frank with you, if you refuse to stick by your words, it won't be an issue for only the Kuchingoro people but the entire Gbagyi nation in Nigeria if nothing is done. Our only sin is that God made us the owners of this land that is why we are been treated like this," he added.

Addressing the protesters in Hausa language, an official of the university, who declined to give his name to LEADERSHIP appealed to the aggrieved indigenes to be patient with them as the university was working towards amicable resolution of the issue.

He adviced them not to resort to violence, saying no positive result would be achived if they did that.

"I have made it very clear that we want to narrow the crowd to a small group and start this discussion and see what happens before the end of the month," he added.

Responding, Head Of Operations, GG-DIN, Mr. Elisha Baba urged the university to be fast with whatever it was doing to resolve the matter and ensure that the affected indigenes are adequately compensated.

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