Hon. Abdullahi Dogara Adi is the Village Head of Giza Emirate in Nasarawa State. In this brief interview with The Triumph’s SULEIMAN LAWAL in Giza, the administrative seat of Giza Development Area, he has reacted to a media report which quoted Tiv farmers as citizens of the area.Excerpts:
Giza belongs to Gwandara, not Tiv, says monarch
From Suleiman Lawal Lafia
Sir, what exactly is your name?
My name is Hon. Abdullahi Dogara Adi, the Village Head of Giza Emirate Council and representative of Sangarin Giza, His Highness, Alhaji Umaru Elegu Abu on any matter that he cannot personally carry out.
Recently, there was a report in the media that Emir Abu has conspired with the Chairman of Obi Local Government Area, Hon. Muhammad Oyimoga to seize 1, 000 hectares of farmland belonging to Tiv farmers in a border town between Keana and Obi LGA. Is this the truth?
When I saw the media report I was surprised myself and in another way I am not surprised because a Tiv man has no respect or regard for the traditional institution.
The place in question was given to them by the Sangarin of Giza to settle; they didn’t buy the place nor did they rent it. They are there under Giza Development Area and Giza Chiefdom. Now my concern here is that when they said the Chairman of Obi Local Government Area “tried to collect their land,” which land do they have there?
Let me state this clearly that they are just settlers in our land and when you give a piece of land to someone to reside and to farm that does not mean the land belongs to him. Because their population is not up to 100 people, so you can imagine what will happen if today they come to claim the land which was given to them to settle and farm. Actually, the Giza Emirate was so confused on hearing this media report that the people we gave shelter have now turned to claim our land as theirs. One more thing, if what they are alleging is true, they should have come to the palace of Sangarin of Giza and report the issue to him, but they failed to do so because some people who misled them that is why they are levelling allegations against the emirate council and chairman of Obi that ‘he wanted to seize their farmland which is about 1,000 hectares;’ that report is not true. There is one man, Muhammad Oyimoga whose mother is from Giza; we do know that his forefathers owned a farmland here, so when he came to ask for a portion of land where his parents farmed and he wanted to farm also, His Highness directed me in particular and other people to go and make sure we gave him part of his parents’ land to also farm as history showed that they also farmed at the alleged farm. Tiv people also confirmed that the chairman’s parents farmed therein.
There was a petition written by Amodu community to the Commissioner of Police and signed by one John Mbakuvv who threatened that if this land is not returned to them there will be bloodshed in Keana, Obi and by extension the whole of the state. Are you aware of this petition? If yes, what measure Giza Emirate Council put in place to address this issue once and for all?
This is the very first time I am hearing this from you. As the village head and vocal person of Giza Emirate I should have seen a copy of the petition, but as I speak to you now I haven’t received anything like that. There is going to be a war, with who?
Over what they described as forceful collection of their farmland
Nobody collected their farmland as far as we are concerned. The place was given to them to settle with the permission of His Highness, therefore he also has the right to give out a portion of land to farm to whoever he wants. What will also interest you to note is this; people rented out this land for N100, 000 to their fellow Tiv who came from the neighbouring Benue State to farm on the land. Mbakuvv cannot go to farm again, he collected the sum of N100, 000 as rent every year, just as I earlier mentioned.
You told us that they are settlers? But in that report they said they have been farming on this particular farm for more than 100 years?
How long have they been here? When did their parents come to this place? It is pure lie; if you ask them now they will tell you they only knew two or three of our traditional rulers.
Who and who?
Sangarin Umar, Sangarin Orume and the present one that is what they will tell you. They don’t know there are other ones; how can they claim that they were here for over 100 years, it is not true.
Can’t you see that with this three Sangarin’s their claims may be true?
They are not up to one 100 years here?
Now what is Giza Emirate Council doing to handle this issue amicably and to tell Tiv settlers that this land does not belong to them so that they know their limit and where they should operate?
The traditional institution has said this time without number that they are strangers whether they like it or not. We are the original inhabitants of this land, I mean, we, the Gwandaras, so they are strangers and we will continue to tell them. Let me tell you that there is no place that accommodates Tiv people like here. Unfortunately they are not appreciating the gesture extended to them because we offered a lot of assistance to them but they easily forget based on the usual character they choose to fight us back. I will continue to say that the place in question was given to them by Sangarin Umar to settle.