In spite of the sterling warning issued to Ningi Local Government Chairman over allegations of illegal land allocation, felling of trees for commercial gratifications at the reserve Lame Bura Game forest has fallen on deaf ears, WikkiTimes can authoritatively report.
The local government Chairman, Mahmuda Hassan Tabla, using the same syndicate group mentioned in an explicit WikkiTimes investigation has allegedly amassed another N19 million in just a few days through fresh illegal allocations.
WikkiTimes’ investigation revealed how the LG Chairman aided and abetted deforestation in the protected Lame-Burra Forest Reserve.
The investigation uncovered how the chairman through a well-connected syndicate, sold out greater portions of the Lame-Burra Forest Reserve to tree fellers and strangers, cashing a lot of illegal money in the process under the pretext of having permission from Governor Mohammed.
After the report was published, Bauchi State Government revoked all illegal land allocations in the Lame-Burra Forest.
The Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed also denied granting permission for any land allocation in the protected Lame-Burra forest. Mr Mohammed issued a sterling warning, promising to decisively deal with anyone found culpable in the scandal.
In a One on One interview with Channels Television, the governor pointed an accusing finger at Mr Tabla, citing intelligence at his disposal.
“Just recently I discovered that in Ningi local government, the Chairman is responsible for the tree felling. We are taking measures because the Civil Defence told me. So, I will not spare him just because he is a local government chairman,” governor Bala said on Channels TV.
Despite the warning, WikkiTimes obtained fresh facts suggesting the LG Chairman is still using the same syndicate group to illegally allocate and sell some portions of the forest.
The Coalition of Burra Farmers and Herders Forum, the same syndicate group, allegedly at the instance of Mahmuda Hassan Tabla, has allocated “land worth over N19 million to interested bidders in Burra”, a source who supplied WikkiTimes with a list of the allocation has said.
The fresh allocation obtained by WikkiTimes shows that the de facto syndicate has allocated different portions of land at the Tamba forest to 75 persons worth over N19 million.
Fresh payments ranging between N700, 000 to N230, 000 were made for the new allocation. On average, each of the 75 persons paid N253, 333 for unspecified hectares in the forest.
After announcing the revocation of the illegal land allocation, the state Governor Bala Mohammed says he will decisively address the imbroglio.
The governor set up a committee of inquiry into the scandals under Dr Asma’u Ahmed Giade, Commissioner for Culture and tourism. The committee visited Burra on a fact-finding tour.
“Bauchi State Government is not aware of any and has not ordered anyone to allocate or sell any part of the forest to anyone for any reason, and if there is, it is illegal and it is what the committee is here to confirm,” Dr Asma’u gave a general statement about the purpose of their visit to Burra.
WikkiTimes reliably gathered that the committee was prevented from accessing some parts of the forest, presumably to hide some of the atrocities committed under the watch of the LG Chairman.
Security reasons were cited as a pretext not to visit some locations in the forest in order to assess the full level of destruction.
A Burra based environmental activist told WikkiTimes that when the Asma’u committee asked those who spearheaded land allocation in the forest about the precise number of hectares they’ve cashed out, “the Coalition could not give a clear cut figure.”
“Some of the beneficiaries could not point their exact portion of land allocated to them, and this could lead to chaos among them in the near future”, the activist who pleaded anonymity has said.
A resident of Ningi who doesn’t want to appear in print express scepticism on whether Bala Mohammed will “summoned the courage to keep his vow by punishing Mahmuda Hassan Tabla because Tabla is a political son of Senator Abdul Ahmed Ningi, whom the governor revered so much because of his political capability.
“It will be extremely difficult for Bala Mohammed to deal with Mahmuda Hassan Tabla because of his ties with former Senate Leader Abdul Ahmed Ningi”, the source said.
Ningi LG Chairman Ignores Early Notices
Despite a series of correspondences to Mahmuda Hassan Tabla from the suspended District Head of Burra notifying him about the fraudulent land allocation and felling down of trees in the forest, the Chairman failed to act accordingly.
In two separate letters to the Chairman dated 14th August 2021 and 24th June 2021, the suspended District Head of Burra drew the attention of the Chairman to the devastating effects of such actions on the environment and lives of the inhabitants of the area but it hit deaf ears.
Burra District Head’s letters came on the back of two distinct correspondences from the wards heads of Kyata and Bashe dated 27th August 2021 and 23 August 2021 narrating how illegal land allocations in Burra Forest Reserve destroyed huge natural forest resources.