Freshly dug graves at the cemetary Avoid Hausa, Yourba clash – Seriki Hausawa The corpses of the Hausa dwellers in Oyo State buried at a cemetery in Lapite village Moniya Ibadan, Oyo State may need to be exhumed and evacuated, if the state government, in conjunction with the federal government, insists on using the potion of land for a dry port.
The 30 acres of land purchased by the Sadauna of the western region, Alhaji Haruna Mai-yasin, the Seriki Sasa about 15 years ago was the cemetery dedicated for the Hausa people in Oyo State and its environ. Sunday Trust gathered that Hausa people across the southwestern states have seen the cemetery as their own which made it easier for them to bury their dead ones. One of the security men at the site told our correspondent that over 10 corpses are usually brought to the cemetery daily because it services the neighbouring states, especially accident victims.
Though some Yoruba settlers in the affected areas have accepted to take compensation from the government, the Hausa community is concerned about how to exhume and relocate the corpses of their family members who were buried on the land. One of the dwellers in a neighbouring village, who simply identified himself as Mr. Akeem Adekunle, said the settlers in the area were helpless when the government brought the letter of acquisition.
“We were helpless when they brought the letter. Our people have accepted their fate and we are expecting the compensation from the government. But I can tell you, our people are not really happy with the development. Even myself, my father and grandfather were buried in the village,” he said.
Counsel to the Hausa community in Ibadan, Barrister Suraj Ali-Musa Danbaba, told Daily Trust Sunday that the documents obtained on the land are intact, and therefore the state government ought to have contacted the Hausa people before embarking on the project on their land. He noted that the state government had held five different meetings with other stakeholders in the village without notifying the Hausa people, adding that “perhaps, because they believe Hausa people are inconsequential.”
According to him, the looming crisis is avoidable and manageable at the moment, if the state government needs land, Governor Seyi Makinde should follow the proposed template for the dry port which is situated in another village. “We don’t want any crisis at this time in Oyo State. If the government attempts to destroy our property, our people may not take it easy with them.
Governor Makinde should please follow the template of the former governor on the issue of dry port and if he insists on using Moniya, he should just spare our land and corpses. “How do you think the remains of our people buried in 2005 can be exhumed and relocated now? They didn’t even talk to us before a private valuer visited us to inform us about it. We don’t want anything on our land,” he said. The Sardauna of the Western region, Alhaji Haruna Mai-yasin, the Seriki Sasa, in his own contributions said Hausa and Yoruba people have been living peacefully in Ibadan and the government should not bring disunity among them.
“It affects our people in the southwest states because this is the cemetery we use for them. Injury to one is injury to all, says an adage. This is the cemetery we use for our people, especially accident victims. We don’t have family house here which is why we purchased that large space of land. How do you want to exhume the body of our fathers who were buried there? Government should just keep away from the land.” Meanwhile, the Hausa community in the state on Friday visited the commissioner for lands, Barrister Abiodun Abdulraheem, to ensure amicable resolution of the purported crisis. Alhaji Haruna Mai-yasin, who led the delegation to his Agodi secretariat, said Hausa people were not aware of the acquisition of the land until recently when a letter of acquisition was brought to him.
He said, “We are here to see the commissioner of land in respect to our cemetery which was taken over by the state and federal government for dry port.” He noted that the cemetery has been in existence since 2005 and over 3,000 people have been buried on the land. He said the purpose of meeting was to dialogue with the government so as to leave the portion of land for them or find another place because of the corpses on the land. “The government has promised us alternative land option. He told us to continue using our land pending the provisions of another land for us. We know government has power to acquire land for public use but it has to be in accordance with the provision of law. “We appeal to the state government to either leave the land for us or provide another alternative so that our people can be buried there.”
On his part, the commissioner for lands and Housing, Barrister Abiodun Abdulraheem, said there was no allegation of forceful takeover of land by government but the Hausa community visited his office to dialogue regarding the issue of acquisition of land for dry port in the state. He said; “The issue of dry port is not an issue of Oyo State government alone but it is between the federal government, the state government and Nigerian Shippers Council.
He noted that the dry port is an ongoing project that started with the last administration in the state, adding that advertisement on the land acquisition was published on November 2018, while the current government came on board May 29, 2019. “I have asked them to put their demands on paper, and they have shown understanding and commitment towards the amicable resolution of the issue.” He however said that the current administration in the state is not forcefully acquiring any land, saying that people should always verify information before spreading them.