Three residents of Ngalda village in Fika LGA of Yobe State have cried out over allegations of land invasion and confiscation by officials of the council.
The complainants, two ladies from Delta State and a man from Fika town, alleged that the LGA’s Chairperson, Halima Kyari Joda, destroyed their houses in Ngalda for allegedly selling alcohol and sold the lands to her associates.
Speaking to City & Crime, Mamman Zakar, one of the victims, said, ‘‘I was sitting at home when I was asked to come out by security operatives. They took us to court and prison for two days before our release. I don’t sell anything in my home. And last month the chairperson and her entourage destroyed our houses and asked us to leave the location within three days.
‘‘I legitimately bought my house, but it was destroyed for an offence that I did not commit. The worst part of it is that the lands of our destroyed houses have been allocated to the political associates of the chairperson.
‘‘What I want now is that the state government should compensate me for destroying and confiscating my house and land so that I can buy a new one.’’
Another victim, Joy Worry, said she was born and bred up in Yobe, but that her parents were from Delta State, lamenting that two of her houses were destroyed by the chairperson without paying compensation.
She said, ‘‘I have a house I bought about 10 years ago. There is one house that I inherited from my parents who left Yobe about 20 years ago. This incident happened when I was sitting at home and policemen asked me to come out; that the chairperson wanted to see us. When I walked out the police arrested me and took us to the station. From there we proceeded to court and to the prison. It took three weeks before the court set us free on bail.
‘‘Three days after we were released a letter was sent to us from the LG secretariat that we should vacate the sites, saying demolition would take place. To cut the story short, two of my houses were destroyed without giving me compensation.
‘‘I don’t know if she is doing this to us because we are Christians or our parents are not Yobe indigenes. I need the state government’s intervention on this matter, because we have seen how these lands have been allocated to selected people.’’
Blessing Emmanuel, the third victim, who noted that she had lived in Ngalda for over 12 years, said, ‘‘I’m a business woman. I sell drinks. One Sunday we had just come back from the church around 4pm when the police and other security personnel surrounded our area. They asked us to enter their vehicle and they took us to the station, and from there we moved to the court then prison.
‘‘Now our houses have been demolished by the chairperson. No payments were made to compensate us. We don’t have money to buy new houses, or even to buy food.”
When contacted, the Chairperson, Hajiya Halima, said selling alcohol was prohibited according to the law of Yobe State, noting that their arrest and prosecution had nothing to do with religion or tribe.
She explained that 92 persons were arrested and prosecuted during the operation, saying 39 “gala” recreational houses and alcohol bases were destroyed after a rise in criminal activities.
She said, “The residents of the community expressed concern about how the situation was ruining their children’s education. The local joints had become hiding places for criminal elements from neighbouring states.’’
Commenting on the alleged selling of lands, she said, ‘‘It is not true because the LG council will build a hospital in the location for the benefit of our people as they recommended.’’