Adamawa citizen, lawmaker locked in over a decade land dispute

Court logo
Court logo
Adamawa citizen, lawmaker locked in over a decade land dispute

Lawmaker forcefully annexed my land, forged land titles, to win court case – citizen

The’re is no truth in all the allegations against me – Lawmaker

An Adamawa citizen currently residing in Jimeta, the administrative capital of Adamawa State, Abubakar Garba Saidu has accused the current house of representatives member representing Toungo, Ganye, Jada and Mayo Belwa federal constituency at the national assembly, Muhammadu Inuwa Bassi of forcefully annexing his land and using forged documents to obtain a favourable court judgement.

Saidu has during interaction with newsmen in Yola also accused the lawmaker of frustrating all efforts at finding an amicable resolution of the over a decade land dispute saying that the lawmaker has vowed to pursue the land dispute up to the highest court in the land.

RELATED NEWS

Why we brought AAC to Adamawa – Organizing secretary

Muslim council extolls Ribadu family, thanks NSA for addressing abductions in Adamawa

Adamawa CAN chair empathizes with Yola traders over market fire, calls for cooperation with govt

Saidu who took time to reel out all that has transpired as the land dispute lasted told journalist that he bought the piece of land at Kofare zone 3, from one Alhaji Bala Baba who also purchased the land from the ward head of the area Alh Ahmadu Pullo.

He said as the practice whenever Alhaji Bala Baba sold out any piece of the land, he usually approached the ward head to approve the transaction by appending his consent and approval.

“After the transaction between me and Alhaji Bala Baba took place, the vendor, Alhaji Bala Baba took me to the ward head, who is the original owner of the land having inherited it from his forefathers for the completion of the transaction.

“After payment of commission, the ward head Alhaji Ahmadu Pullo signed and sealed the transaction. Because of his position as the original owner of the land the ward head always serve as the main witness whenever any portion of the land is sold,” Saidu told newsmen.

Saidu noted that being a large piece of land, the ward head has sold land to over 100 people adding that even Alhaji Bala Baba who bought a portion of the land from the ward head sold the land to over 70 people.

He said he and many others bought the piece of land in 2005 and have maintained the land for about five years without any hitch when suddenly they observed that strange beacons were erected on the land ‘but I removed the beacon erected on my land. It was at that point that the ward head swore to us that the land legally belonged to him by virtue of inheritance and we should not entertain any fear of losing the land to land grabbers. He even urged us to go ahead with our plans to develop the land whenever we deemed fit.

“During one of the meetings we had, the ward head told Muhammad Bassi in black and white that he should vacate the land because the land belonged to him. But Bassi insisted that he bought the land from the ministry of land and survey. Bassi was thereafter told that ministry of land and survey do not engage in the business of selling of land.

“Because of my insistence to protect my right, Bassi even instigated my arrest and detention. After my detention, one DPO at Kofare police station ordered us to stop any development on the piece of land.

“Since we got our land by virtue of traditional ownership, we went to the office of the district head of Yola who made efforts to call Mohammed Bassi but Bassi blatantly refused to honour the invitation.

“In the same vein, the secretary of Adamawa emirate council called him and he refused to honour his invitation too. But he later gave the land title to one soldier when I attempted to sell the plot of land. The soldier took me to air force base and harassed me. Bassi then asked the soldier to take the matter to court and also make enquiries from the ministry of land to ascertain the authenticity of the documents.

“We later got a copy of the land title Bassi gave the soldier and the emirate council took the documents to ministry of land and survey and the reply was that the papers were not genuine,” he said.

Saidu who backed up his claim with a memo from the office of the Hon. Commissioner of land and survey Yola dated 17th October, 2022 over request for authentication of grant of R of O No GS/12911 with reference No GS/MLS/LAN/28156/12 bearing Ann D. Tyler and signed by T. A Dwana made the following revelation.

“Regrettably all efforts to trace the subject file in our archives proves abortive and without the file, thorough authentication cannot be carried out.

“However, the 3 No grants of R of O annexed to your letter to us in respect of GS/12911 were all subjected to physical/ technical scrutiny and certain irregularities were detected this;

” 1. The 2 No grants of R of O dated 16 May, 2003 are supposed to be similar in character, formation and signatory endorsement but contrarily, the two vary in placement of LUAC stamp thereon i.e while one bears ref No GS/MLS/LAN/12 and ended with a dot, the other does not end with a dot.

” 2. While the description of the area on one of the R of O reads 3608.00sqm, the area on the other one reads 3608 square meters.

“3. The purported LUAC secretary’s signature then was forged as at the time in 2003 he has not yet ascended the seat.

“4. The third grant of R of O dated earlier in time i.e 14th February, 1992 bears yet a different no GS/MLS/LAW/18156/1/8 and also an area description reads about 5764 which grossly varies with that on the other No. 2 grant of R of O. More so, at the back page of grant of R of O is a conditional surrender stamp which by tradition carried out before granting LUAC enlistment to the item. So all the No 3. R of O you advanced to us have no plot No in the layout GSYPI as captured on the R of O.”

Saidu claimed that Bassi deceived the court by using the above No. 3 R of Os to win a court judgement although he has appealed the case.

All allegations are frivolous, prejudicial and gross misrepresentations, Bassi

But reacting to the allegations to our reporter via phone call, the lawmaker dismissed the allegations as frivolous, prejudicial and gross misrepresentation of facts of the case.

He noted that the layout in question is a government layout. “It was the first layout in Gongola State. It was allocated to people. There is one staff of land and survey who is still alive. He allocated the place to his wife. He decided to sell the portion of land in 2005.

“When I was taken to the place I told them I could not buy a water logged piece of land. But the person who brought me insisted that I should buy the land saying that it will come handy in the future.

“That time I was working with Gov Boni Haruna and our cars were monetized. We were given N4.5m car allowance. I bought plots of land one of which is the one in contention. I bought the plot at the rate of N350,000. After about 4 – 5 years after I bought the land, one day I went on inspection and I saw people digging on a portion of the land.

“I didn’t say anything to them. The next day I went to land and survey and asked them to demarcate my plot of land. I gave them my grant. The present permanent secretary of the ministry was the person who went to demarcate my land.

“Already some people have tempered with part of the plot to the extent someone has already built and settled on part of the plot. So I decided to overlook the person and asked land and survey to adjust the specifications to conform with the new reality. The beacons were adjusted then I was issued another letter of grant to back the new arrangement,” he said.

After the land and survey finished their work, the plot which Saidu was claiming became part of my plot for which new grant of R of O was issued to me.

My surprise in all this is that Saidu never approached me personally for amicable resolution of the issue. He started misbehaving sometimes praying on the piece of land to the extent I thought he has lost his mind.

In the first place what he ought to do was to go back to the person who sold the land to him and tell him the situation. But instead he started fighting me. In 2008 I met the ward head who sold the land to Saidu and the ward head told me that the land belonged to his forefathers and he was never compensated. I told him I have no concern with that. That time I was in the house of assembly, knowing the risk involved in trying to drag issue with a person who has grant, the ward head withdrew the sales agreement he entered with Saidu and others. The paper he was parading as an evidence of agreement between himself and the ward head is itself a fake paper.

At a point in time I told Saidu and the ward head that I will not speak with them further on the land matter. I particularly advised Saidu to go to court because that is the only place were he could legally reclaim his land if it was unjustifiably taken away from him as he is claiming.

“I told them if the court gave you the land I have no option than to give it to you. But I will not sue you before any court and I will not surrender my land to you. I told him I will not take action because people will say I used my position as a lawmaker. Even if I will take a position on the issue, it will be after I left the house of assembly. Up till the time I left the assembly he was going helter skelter. He went to the traditional council.

“The Secretary of the Adamawa traditional council called me on phone. He invited me to come. I told him point blank that I will not go. I said I will not go because the court is there and I advised him to tell the boy to go to the court. They didn’t go to court but wrote to the district head and asked him to constitute a committee. There are a lot of land issues then. The committee chairman called me and I told them him I will not honour their summon. But the committee chairman who is a seasoned administrator pleaded with me since the issue involves the traditional institution which all of us have tremendous respect for.

“So I obliged and a day was fixed. They brought my case during the sitting I advised the chairman to officially write to me to invite me to come before the committee and I told them to state all the facts of the matter and the evidences they want from me. Since I left they never looked for me till today,” he said.

Bassi said Saidu sold the plot of land to a soldier, precisely an Air Force officer who lives in Abuja. The Air Force officer started deploying sand to the place and my attention was drawn. I told the driver of the truck conveying the sand to stop putting the sand because the place belonged to me.

The tipper driver told the solder the guy came from Abuja and use their police wing and a handful of them were deployed to look for me. They located my house and about 15 of them accosted the house in trucks. I was not even at home but my attention was drawn to the anomaly and I quickly drove home. When I enquired about why they invaded my home in the manner they did, they told me it was over a land matter. I told them it is my plot and said I don’t know if they want to take it by force.

They produced the agreement given to them by Saidu. I brought the photocopy of my letter of grant. I handed it to them and told them to go to ministry of land and survey to ask whether the place is a govt layout or not. I told them if they were told it is not a government layout then I surrendered the place to them. But If they are told it’s a government layout they should bring my paper back.

But two days passed by and I didn’t see any of them so I went to the barracks. I was lucky the first person I met was the leader of the soldiers sent to my house. I asked him whether they have made the necessary verification because the arrangement is for them to make enquiries and revert to me but I didn’t hear from them.

The soldier now took me to the officer who bought the land and he told me that they went on a fact finding mission to land and survey and they were told the land is a government allocation. The soldier attempted to use police but they told him once there is a grant, there is no way he will compete with a psper by ward head.

I think the soldier ordered the arrest of Saidu. The boy has no reason to fight me instead he should have fought with the person who sold the land to him. There was a time when the soldier got my number and called me and I told him the boy is just creating something out of nothing. I told the soldier that the boy took me to court and after winning the case, he went aside and started casting aspersions on the integrity of the judgement by claiming that I compromised the judge.

And I swear to Allah there was never any connection between me and the judge. Before the case I don’t know the judge and during the case I never opened any sort of communication with the judge. The truth and the documents I provided simply gave me victory. But the boy went and started impugning the court. The court dismissed the suit and even imposed a fine I think of N500,000 on Saidu.

After the judgement I learnt that Saidu with his lawyer wrote the ministry of land and survey using the documents I deposed at the court and a letter from the ministry said all the documents I tendered to win my court case were fake. I sent the letter to the permanent secretary of the ministry and he just laughed and said the letter was a charade and could not have emanated from the ministry.

Sometime ago, he took a friend of mine to meet me in Abuja on the issue and I took my time to explain to the person what I’m explaining to you now. And when the person heard my version he was livid with anger at Saidu and told him that if he had known it was like that he wouldn’t waste his time on a frivolous matter. He told Saidu that the proper thing to do was to go back to the person from whom he bought the land and sort out himself. But after the friend asked me to reconsider settlement but I told him since Saidu thinks he can get the land through the backdoor let him continue to try but I will never listen to him again on the matter. I told my friend that I bought the land in 2005 before Saidu bought the land and I have asked the ministry of land and survey to demarcate the land into seven plots and I sold them off and people have even constructed houses so the issue of settlement at that point is belated.

What even surprises me is his resort to go to the press with the matter. Does he think the press will give him what the courts denied him? What he ought to do if he is not satisfied with the judgement of the court of first instance is to appeal till he gets to the highest court in the land where the issue will terminate.

And one thing is that he is not the only person affected by the issue. A lot of people bought the land but when they see the evidence at my disposal they will leave the case. There is even one magistrate who was given the land free and he sold it to one Igbo man. But upon realizing the truth, he visited me and told me his predicament and said he has no money to compensate the Igbo man who bought the land at the rate of N250,000 from the magistrate. Out of sympathy I gave the magistrate N100,000 as part of my assistance to him to resolve the case. If Saidu has shown the same mannerism I would have assisted him to get even a better piece of land from the government when I served as the chairman house committee on land but he refused to tow the line of mediation.

 

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here