Residents of Iddo Sarki, Tungan Maje, Zuba and Kpakuru communities of Gwagwalada Area Council are at loggerheads with the Nigerian Army over moves to take over their land.

The natives, who trooped out on Thursday and Friday, barricaded all the entry points to the disputed land. The parcel of land in question is about 9,000 hectares and plays host to about 80 communities.

The army had deployed bulldozers and other equipment to the site to construct structures on them.

The villagers, who refused to be intimidated by the gun-toting soldiers, blocked the roads and stopped the military from gaining entry to the area.

There was a commotion in the communities as the residents vowed never to give up their land to the soldiers.

The Leader of Coalition, FCT Indigenous Association, Dalhatu Ezekiel Musa, who spoke to SaharaReporters, said the military was bent on forcefully taking over their lands.

Ezekiel said, "We have talked to the FCT Minister, who has the statutory mandate of land allocation. He has testified in several fora that the Nigerian Army does not have an allocation and land title in that area and that what they are doing is forceful acquisition.

"This is not a banana republic. You cannot just forcefully push people out and demolish their houses. We will keep resisting them. We have asked the government to act on our complaints.

"They brutalized our people, and they even have a cattle ranch. I don't know when the army turned to merchandise when their primary responsibility is the protection of the territorial integrity of the country.”

Meanwhile, the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, was quoted to have said the land was officially allocated to the army in 1979 while a certificate of occupancy was issued in 2011.

Buratai was quoted as saying, "In 2011, when all lands were revoked, and landowners were directed to recertify, the Nigerian Army duly applied for the recertification, and they have legally recertified this particular land."

The lingering land dispute dates back to the designation of Abuja as the federal capital city of the country.

Recall that some angry youths in the area had on May 8, 2019, blocked the convoy of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on his way to the airport while protesting against the alleged seizure of their land by the Nigerian Army.

The vice president was heading to the airport in the morning when he ran into the protesters at Goza village. He was forced to alight from his car to address the villagers after his security aides failed to appease them.

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