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Save Keffi, Gangeren Karofi communities

SIR: Kofar-makaranta, Gangaren-Karofi, Anguwan-Yelwa, Yelwa-Bello, Yelwan-Barau, Yelwan Maji are all settlements with long history, spanning over a century (100 years) in Keffi Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.

These are historical settlements that are within the vicinity of the emirs palace, which clearly portrait ancestral heritage of the communities.

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These communities are predominantly subsistence farmers, while others engage in itinerant trading to satisfy basic needs of life. However, at the moment, these beleaguered communities are plunged into untold hardship and anguish as a result of sudden demolition of their homes, embarked upon by the Nassarawa State government under the guise of road expansion and construction. Prior to the demolition exercise, these communities saw the unfortunate development coming when the authorities concerned issued a two days’ notice ahead to most residence of the affected areas.

It should however be noted that sometime back, a delegation of state government officials visited the community heads where the issues of compensations was discussed. The officials then assured the community elders as regards to payment of compensation to deserving occupants of lands and properties that may be affected, but unfortunately this was not to be. Suddenly the residents of these communities woke up in the early morning of Monday, March 4, to discover the presence of several bulldozers and other heavy duty machines accompanied by fierce looking security personnel.Before 7am of that same day, several houses were demolished. The sad development compelled hundreds of families to immediately commence the evacuation of their personal belongings albeit reluctantly.

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The demolition continues despite the cries and pleas of particularly the aged and elders of the communities and in the midst of wailing and cries of children whose schooling had been set aside as a result of the government decision to embark on the demolition exercise.

It is on this note that we, on behalf of these communities, are appealing to the government of Nassarawa State and in particular Governor Al-Makura, to for the sake of posterity consider the sufferings of our people in these places.

We are not against urban or rural development; it is our earnest aspiration, but this should be through due process and therefore, we are appealing to the governor to consider the legitimate yearnings of these communities for compensation to the victims of the on-going demolition exercise in the affected areas to ameliorate the sufferings of the people.

On the other hand, our governor should also consider the timing of the exercise, which is capable of disenfranchising thousands of electorate from their civic responsibility due to sudden dislodgment of residence from their settlement.

Mohammed Isa Bilal, Jos.

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