By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna.
Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State has observed that deliberate distortions of documents and records for lands and territories were the main cause of most boundary disputes between people, communities and states across Nigeria.
He said such display of falsehood, selfishness and blatant abuse and disregard to existing records have led to several loss of lives and property and brought about disharmony and disputes amongst people and communities across the country.
Speaking Wednesday in Minna, Governor Bello who was reacting to the thorny boundary issues between Mokwa and Katcha, Tafa and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja and between Bida and Kontagora Emirate Councils as well, regretted that such unnecessary altercations amongst people who are tight and bounded by nature have allowed primitive self centrednesd to lead to unnecessary tension, enmity and separations.
Governor Bello bore his mind while inaugurating a 14 man boundary resolution committee headed by his Deputy, Alhaji Ahmed Muhammad Ketso.
He posited that if people were ready to abide by records and shun avarice and dishonesty, disputes over land and territories amongst people would be minimised and even eliminated.
He wondered why some people would want to subvert the truth on existing records to whip up sentiments of others over what is not their rights.
“For me, once the records are there for all to see in determining issues of limits of boundaries, all we need is to remain truthful and be honest with ourselves by saying things as they are without attaching our primordial interest to them”.
He advised that every community should confine itself to what rightfully belongs to it rather than resort to extra territorial quest and conquest.
The Governor warned that “the era of commandeering and appropriating lands was over and for good. He said his administration would abide by what is right, what is legal and just “because we are going to abide strictly with available records to ensure an end to land encroachments within this state and between us and neighbouring states” he said. He cautioned that boundary issues and disagreements were not only very critical but very sensitive especially in multiethnic, homogeneous society as Nigeria just as he warned of the consequences of continuous disputes, quarrels, fightings and wars over lands and landed issues.
Governor Bello sued for a clear interpretation and physical demarcation and delineation of all the disputed lands and territories bounding the communities aforementioned in order to rest the recurring vexed issues amongst them for peace and posterity sake.
The Governor said the age long disputes between the communities were resolvable. “As far as I am concerned, these inter states, inter and intra local government councils boundary issues are to a large extent artificial and imaginary except where we have natural features like rivers that divides two communities.
“Therefore, until the boundaries are clearly interpreted and physically demarcated on the ground, we would continue to either ignorantly or deliberately encroach on each other’s territory and create more pains for ourselves he said”.
He vowed that his administration would remain resolute and passionate about exploring every line of constitutional approach to ensure peaceful coexistence amongst the different ethnic nationalities in the state and with other neighbouring states through alternative land dispute settlement strategies.
Chairman of the committee and Deputy Governor of the state, Alhaji Ahmed Muhammad Ketso assured the Governor of the committee’s readiness to work and ensure peaceful and harmonious resolution of all the claims and disputed claims over the lands and territories.
The committee has 13 terms of references to enable it discharge its duties within specified time which was however not publicly stated.
Boundary squabble: NGSG sets up delineation Committee
By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna.