Indigenes of Abuja on Tuesday blocked the National Assembly complex’s main gate in protest against the alleged takeover of their land in Tungan Maje, Ido Sarki, Kpakuru and Giri areas of the Federal Capital Territory by the Nigerian Army.
The protesters, under the auspices of the Coalition of FCT Indigenous Associations, who prevented lawmakers, visitors and workers from entering the complex, also protested against the alleged killing of an Abuja indigene, Hamza Haruna, by soldiers while they were protesting against “the illegal possession of their family land”.
They also claimed five persons were injured by the soldiers.
The protesters had on Thursday blocked the National Assembly complex’s main gate, forcing lawmakers, workers and visitors to enter the premises through the gate leading to the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
However, on Tuesday they blocked the OSGF gate, making the protest to have a bigger impact on official and commercial activities at the National Assembly.
President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, told the Chairman, Committee on the FCT, Senator Dino Melaye, as well as Senators Ibrahim Dambaba and Philip Gyunka to address the protesters.
Melaye said the committee would hold a meeting with the lawmaker representing the FCT, Senator Philip Aduda, after which the issues the protesters had raised would be investigated.
He said, “No trigger-happy soldier or policeman has the right to kill any Nigerian. By the grace of God we will put a stop to it because enough is enough.”
The group’s coordinator, Mr Kamal Shuaibu, said they had agreed to suspend the protest pending the outcome of the meeting.
The group last week petitioned Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, complaining about the takeover of their land by soldiers.
In the petition signed by Shuaibu, the protesters said they were forced to march through the streets due to their alleged intimidation by soldiers.
The coalition recalled that they reported the Nigerian Army to the National Assembly and the Federal Capital Territory Administration “over the illegal and forceful acquisition of our indigenous land by the military and the destruction of our crops by the invaders”.
The protesters warned that if the government failed to stop the “greed” of the Nigerian Army, “we will henceforth have to defend ourselves on our farmlands”.
They added, “Henceforth we will meet violence with violence from any individual or group of persons that further threaten us on our ancestral land with illegal activities.”