HipCity Innovation Centre and partners condemns the forceful Attempt by the Nigeria Navy to Takeover Iddo Sarki Land

We recently received disturbing news from Iddo Sarkin community, in Abuja Municipal Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, who face the attempt by the Nigerian Navy to forcefully dislodge and eject the original inhabitants of their rightful ancestral land. The Navy mounted bill boards on February 12, 2023 at strategic locations of the community mandating indigenes who have lived there for decades to “Pack and Leave”, without due process, as stipulated by the laws of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

We condemn in its entirety this obvious abuse of human rights by a federal government institution.

For contextual precedence; the original inhabitants of Abuja have lived in the area centuries before Nigeria adopted the geographic space as its Federal Capital Territory. They have maintained their own social, economic, cultural and traditional systems before the FCT came into existence and as such hold customary rights to the land. This fact is backed up by international documents such as the United Nations (General Assembly, 2007) Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People of which Nigeria is a member and the ILO Convention No. 169.

The 1999 Nigerian constitution as amended in section 44: (1) states that “No moveable property or any interest in an immovable property shall be taken possession of compulsorily and no right over or interest in any such property shall be acquired compulsorily in any part of Nigeria except in the manner and for the purposes prescribed by a law that, among other things –

(a) requires the prompt payment of compensation therefore and

(b) gives to any person claiming such compensation a right of access for the determination of his interest in the property and the amount of compensation to a court of law or tribunal or body having jurisdiction in that part of Nigeria.

Part V of the Land Use Act of 1978 speaks clearly on the matter of revocation of rights of occupancy and compensation. This right is clearly vested on the Governor of a State and in the case of the FCT; on the FCT Minister who has the delegated powers of the President to administer the territory.

The sheer display of authority and neglect of constitutional provisions is a clear illegality which shouldn’t be heard or found and/or traced to any law enforcement institution of Government.

Reportedly, this is the third attempt by the Nigerian Navy to send them away, without providing any official document ceding statutory land rights from the government to them, neither have they used non-military tactics of dialogue to engage with the people and provide them with the alternatives of compensations, relocation or resettlements rather they have resorted to threats.

The actions of the Nigerian Navy are a clear case of victimization, intimidation and abuse of power bestowed on them by the Nigerian people whose salaries and emoluments are paid for, by Nigerians, and a violation of the rights of Nigerians living in Iddo Sarki as guaranteed by the Nigerian Constitution and the African Charter on Human and People Rights.

The Iddo people live in perpetual fear every day and are confused of what is to come next, having reported that the military have stopped many of their people access to their farmlands therefore denying them a right to their livelihood and further exacerbating the extreme poverty currently being faced by the people, diminishing their quality of life.

Insecurity in the FCT is at an all-time high, with the government and Military battling to curb the cancer and yet the Navy is about to render many destitute and even incite more anger amongst the citizenry.

Forced evictions and dispossession of land might be one time, maybe a one day activity but leaves a trail of multi negative impacts on the physical, emotional, psychological and economic wellbeing of the people and the State; with women and children being the most affected, children would have to stop schooling (and may never return back to school depending on the build-back period of their parents and guardians) while women would become displaced and soft targets for sexual and gender based violence as they would have been driven out of their income-earning productive activities.

While we appreciate the Public Complaint Commission who swung into action by visiting the site and addressed the community, we urge them not to rest on their oars, but deal with this matter to a conclusive end, and give the community a lasting respite.


1)      The Nigerian Navy should immediately remove their eviction post erected in strategic locations across the community.

2)      The Nigerian Navy should provide the statutory land ownership documents granting them ownership of the entire community landmass

3)     The Nigerian Navy should desist from intimidating the Iddo Sarki Community

4)     If the Nigerian Navy can prove rightful ownership, it has to engage with the community leadership and women to discuss alternatives and to minimize their hardship

5)     The FCT Minister should wade into the matter and ensure that justice is not only seen to be done but done in reality by bringing all parties to the table for a justifiable agreement.

In conclusion, we wish to reiterate that the action of the Nigerian Navy is a brazen abuse of power and inciting to say the least; Abuja and Nigeria cannot entertain any more conflict or violence, neither should any apparatus of government be seen to contribute to our already dark statistics as the country with the highest number of extremely poor people, high number of out-of-school children, unsafe cities, internal displacements etc.

We call on the President, the FCT Minister and all relevant stakeholder, to as a matter of urgency wade into the matter with the view to forestall any possible crisis from escalating, and allow the Iddo Sarki community to live in peace without any fear of intimidation and harassment.


HipCity Innovation Centre

Heinrich Boell Stiftung Foundation

Fabulous Urban Nigeria Foundation