The Nation Newspaper’s website – in typical style – has a headline today proclaiming “FREE LAND FOR BAJANS”. The feel-good story just gushes about the happy opportunities of closer ties between Barbados and Nigeria. Here are some excerpts…
Free Land For Bajans
IF YOU ARE A BAJAN, free land is waiting for you in Ogun State, Nigeria.
The offer has been made by Otunba Gbenga Daniel, governor of Yewa South Local Government Area of Ogun State, as part of his plan for forging unity across the Atlantic Ocean…
…It states here clearly: ‘You are also implored to help globalise our local endowments which spread across the state. To this end our government has decided to allocate land to any of our brothers and sisters for development into either private properties or business ventures anywhere in the state on request.’“This is free land that they are offering. This is not a gimmick. This is not a joke. This is the Governor of Ogun State,” explained Gabby.
…The two-man delegation also announced several other economic and cultural initiatives between the continental Africans and Barbadians. These included a continued discussion of a direct flight route from Nigeria to Barbados; exploring the possibility of a preferential price for oil and gas from Nigeria; and an on-line Pan-African history programme for the primary and secondary students of Nigeria.
…read the full article at The Nation News (link here)
Where Did The “Free” Nigerian Land Come From?
In all the excitment over something “free”, I guess The Nation News and the involved Barbados government agencies never thought to ask “Where does this “free” land come from?”
This might have been a good question to ask, you know – considering that Nigeria is one of, if not the, most corrupt country on the planet.
Well, with about seventeen keystrokes on the internet, the Barbados Free Press discovered that the Government of Nigeria has been on a rampage of expropriating lands, bulldozing houses, beating and sometimes killing those who get in the way…
…At least a million have been left homeless.
Why Isn’t The Barbados Media Asking Some Basic Questions?
As the Government of Barbados carries through with it’s announced intention to take Barbados closer to an Afrocentric focus not only culturally, but also economically, it would serve Barbados well if the island media stopped acting like a governnment mouthpiece and started to ask one or two questions here and there.
There is No Free Lunch – And No “Free” Land In Nigeria
Some excerpts from the website of Habitat International Coalition (link here)…
...up to 800,000[i] persons may have been rendered homeless through these evictions.
Evictions began on a mass scale in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), of which Abuja is a part, with the appointment of FCT Federal Minister Mallam El-Rufai in 2003. Since then, evictions have taken place in nine communities, of a total 49 settlement areas earmarked for demolition. The communities affected by these demolitions thus far include: Wuse, (2004), Mpape (2004), Dantata (November 2004), Old Karimo (November 2004), Jabi/Kado (April 2004), Chika (November 2005), Idu Karimo (2005-2006), Kubwa (June 2005-April 2006), and Dei-dei (April 2006).
The authorities have left Chika (Extension) Community in total destruction, including social services, schools and churches. They also have demolished most of Idu-Karmo community, leaving only the church, in operations carried out during February and March 2006. Witnesses report that only half-destroyed churches remain amid vast areas of former human habitat with houses having disappeared into rubble.
Local people refer to the government’s bulldozers as “El-Rufai’s” bulldozers. Many persons having lost their houses have had no recourse but to sleep in the church hall. When the bulldozers came to destroy the sacristy and parish house in the Idu-Karmo neighbourhood, on 13 March 2006, inhabitants wept for their beloved community-built church. After the bulldozer finished destroying the small buildings and the hall, the driver proceeded to do the same with the church facade and its tall bell tower, …
Approximately three hundred churches, mosques, schools and social services are said to have been affected. Six big parishes are completely destroyed, some of them with 30,000 or more community members.
…The government rationalizes this wide-scale destruction as implementation of the 1979 Abuja Master Plan. Belatedly and retroactively applying the outdated plan now renders entire communities “illegal.”…The protraction of the evictions is particularly suspicious, considering that many of those being evicted have official allocations of and/or deeds to the land. For example, according to Abuja’s Archbishop John Onayiekan, all the parishes and churches were built on officially designated sites with the consent of the city administration and under formal title deeds registered years ago.
Real estate investment and privatization are the real causes underlying the evictions and demolitions. Consequently, private real estate developers have assumed the key role in rebuilding over demolished property. For example on the site of the demolished Chika community two projects are planned: a national park and a technology village, the land of which is owned by a private real estate developer, Aldenco System Nigeria Limited.
Free Land? Only if you choose to see it that way.
What do you choose, friends?