Land tussle: Group decries police harassment, seeks FG’s intervention

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Sequel to the continuous harassment, arrest and detention of its workers by the Policemen, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), Faith-Based AIDS Awareness Initiative has cried out to the Federal Government for justice and intervention, by coming to its aid.

The organisation through its Executive Director, Pastor Folororunsho Oloruntunde, narrated its ordeal on Thursday in a chat with journalists in Jos.

Oloruntunde said, “We are tired of police harassment, arrest and detention over a plot of land that belongs to us and we are begging the federal government to call the Management of Police Staff College, Jos, to order.

“We bought the piece of land close to Police Staff College in Jos from the natives, who testified in court and judgement was entered in our favor five years ago, yet the police is harassing us, “ The director lamented.

Oloruntunde disclosed that just last Monday three of the labourers working at the NGO’s Headquarters site were arrested and detained at Bukuru Police Division on the order of the Commandant of the Police Staff College.

He explained that on February 27, 2014, Justice Christy Dabup of the State High Court VII gave an order to the Police not to harass, arrest, detain and disturb us from continuing with our construction.

“But in spite of court order, the same police arrested, detained our boys and even sued us before a Bukuru Senior Magistrates Court, which on Oct. 21, 2015, struck out the case for last of merit.

“We have written to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), the Commandant of Police Staff College and the Plateau State Commissioner of Police on the issue and attached the court’s verdicts for their understanding.

“It’s five years now that the police did not appeal any of the court verdicts, yet they blatantly refused to allow us to roof the building, “ he pointed out.

In a letter to IGP dated May 13, 2019, the NGO intimated him of the continuous harassment, arrests and detentions as well obstruction of its work on its headquarters building by the Police College management.

“The attached are judgments delivered by courts of competent jurisdiction restraining further disturbances, but this morning (May 13, 2019) we are surprised that the police came with a Hilux and arrested 3 innocent workers at the site.

“This act has been traumatizing and wasting our hard earned resources since 2013. This complaint is for you to use your good offices in letting the law prevail and prevent further violation.

“Since 1994, Faith-Based AIDS Awareness Initiative (FBAAI) has been contributing significantly to peace and health of Nigerians in most communities, “ the letter read.

Chief Gregory Pwajok, Gwom Kwata (Village Head) of the area, faulted and condemned the action of the police staff college authorities.

“My subjects sold the land to the NGO, which has gone to obtain R of O from the Plateau State Ministry of Land and Survey.

“ If the college claims the contrary, let the authorities show the world its papers for the land. In fact, no compensation has been paid by the Federal Government on the entire portion the college is built upon.

“It’s surprising that they are claiming ownership of the unfenced land to the college.,” Pwajok lamented.

Reacting to the allegations raised, the college’s Deputy Commandant, CP Rabiu Yusuf, refused to comment on the issue on the guise that the matter is before a court of Law.

Yusuf, who spoke through the College’s Public Relationships Officer (PPRO), Solomon Utuumu I. Nyou, said, “l can’t speak on a matter that is already in court.”

When asked who sued who in which court in spite of the earlier two court judgements issued in favor of the NGO, he simply said, “l don’t know but that’s what l was instructed to tell you, the press.”

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