Hausa, Fulani community in Delta protests against eviction order
The Hausa-Fulani community in Oshimili North Local Council of Delta State has described the executive order by the Chairman of the council, Mr. Louis Ndukwe, evicting them from the bushes within the area as draconian.
Ndukwe had ordered those residing in the bushes to vacate within seven days or have their structures demolished, insisting that the order was informed by recent alarming rate of kidnappings, killings and maiming, among others, believed to have been perpetrated by elements who have their hideouts in the bushes.
The Fulani residents, who trooped out in their hundreds with placards of various inscriptions during a protest along the Benin-Asaba-Onitsha Expressway, said that they were not criminals but law-abiding Nigerians who have lived in Delta State from birth.
The Public Relations Officer of Muslim Lawyers Association of Nigeria, Delta State Branch, Mr. Idris Abubakar, who spoke on their behalf, said: “The quit notice will boomerang and cause more havoc than it intends to cure if the leadership of the council goes ahead to forcefully evict them from the bushes at the end of the seven-day ultimatum.
“The council chairman acted out of his own volition, as the state governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, can never give his nod to such a draconian law. That law is null and void. We are lawful tenants and we have been paying rent. We have documents to prove that. We have become citizens of Delta State because we have lived here all our lives. If you ask us to go now, we don’t even know where to go.”
He further stressed that Fulani residents in the locality were not culpable on the precarious security situation and that the criminal acts could have been committed by natives, and urged the authorities to look inwards to find solutions to the teething problems.
In his reaction, Ndukwe said: “We have not asked them to leave the local council but to come out of the bush and live socially and economically with us in the towns and villages. Our government is people-friendly and the people of Anioma are very friendly too. The aim of the executive order was not to antagonise anybody within the locality but only to clear the bushes where heinous crimes were being committed.
“At the initial stage when the Fulani residents opted to live in the bushes, there were no problems, but recently, heinous crimes are being committed in the bushes.”
People are being killed, they are being kidnapped for ransom and our women are being raped in the bushes. So, what we are saying is that they should come out and live with our people and let us know who you are so that tomorrow, we can account for ourselves.”
He, however, reiterated that the seven-day ultimatum had not changed, stressing that at the end of the ultimatum, “we are going to come down heavily on the defaulters who refuse to vacate the bushes. We have communicated with our traditional rulers and security agencies.”
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