Yolan-Bayara Community, a suburb of Bauchi metropolis, has opposed the decision of Bauchi State Government to allocate a 50-hectares-graveyard to the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) on about 470-hectare of land that members of the community inherited from ancestors.
Governor Bala Mohammed had promised to allocate a 50-hectares-graveyard for the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) during the Christmas homage on 25th December 2022. Mohammed said that he had earlier promised the land in 2021 but he was not aware of the unfulfilled pledge.
However, the Yolan-Bayara Community leaders said that “the State Government has made all arrangements to pay compensation to the members of Christian Community for the acquisition of the land that does not belong to them.
The Community leaders in a petition signed by Sani Sarki Yakubu and six others on Sunday and addressed to the state government and security agencies said that Deputy Governor Baba Tela led a delegation including members of the Christian community and commenced the physical survey of a 470-hectare of land “belonging to us, the Muslim community, all of who being natives of Yolan-Bayara without seeking and obtaining the consent of the real owners of the land,” they said.
“We are also aware and not oblivious of the fact that Your Excellency, the worst of it all was that while the Deputy Governor was on the land for that purpose, heavily armed security guards and personnel were mounted along the way to our Village of Yolan-Bayara and they prevented everyone from gaining access to our village.
Reacting, Special Adviser to the Governor Mukhtar Gidado, said that he is yet to allocate the land but would do so in accordance with the existing laws. According to him, CAN had requested 50 hectares of land at their preferred location in Yolan-Bayara out of the 470 hectares while technical studies commenced before the formal allocation of the land.
“The Government set up a committee led by the Deputy Governor, and while the process of allocation was going on the Muslim Community issued a petition to the Government, claiming ownership of the land. Although, the land is not formally allocated because the government is studying the process.
“The public should therefore know that in allocating land to individuals and associations due process must be followed. And where land belongs to people compensation will be paid. They should also know that both Muslims and Christians have the right to request land for their cemetery,” he said.