POTENTIAL ethnic trouble is brewing in Yola the Adamawa State capital after a deputy police commissioner who hails from the area has reportedly told an Igbo man who bought a house next to his property to sell it as he is not ready to be his neighbour.
In a bizarre and unprecedented development, Ibrahim Babazango, a native Adamawan who is currently a serving deputy commissioner with the Lagos State Police Command, has threatened one Vincent Umeh for buying a property next to his. Apparently, Mr Babazango was infuriated to learn that a southeasterner was his new neighbour and has told Mr Umeh that he will not tolerate an Igbo man living next door to him.
A property, said to be located at 33, Mohammed Mustapha Way, Opposite Ford Oil, Yola, was purchased by Mr Umeh. However, an audio message has just gone vital in which Mr Babazango was heard warning Mr Umeh to reverse the purchase deal or face bitter consequences, including no guarantee of his personal safety.
Mr Babazango said: “We’re a homogeneous community, I don’t want you and you can’t be my next door neighbour, I swear. What sort of insult is this? Can any northerner move now to the southeast, say Onitsha and just bump into any neighbourhood to buy a property just like that?”
Among other things, Mr Babazango claimed that his former neighbour sold the property to Mr Umeh without offering him the first right to buy. He is thus insisting that Mr Umeh must sell the property and leave the area.
However, Mr Umeh said: “I acquired the property late last year from one Ismail Mamman, and the transaction was perfected and a title deed was issued to me. I was surprised to receive a call from a man who introduced himself as DCP Ibrahim Babazango, a neighbour of Ismail Mamman who sold the property to me.
“He threatened that I should abandon the property because he could not guarantee my safety as his neighbour. I pleaded with him to no avail and asked him what I did wrong by purchasing the property, at least within the context of the law.
“He kept yelling that I was not welcome in the neighbourhood and I am a stranger in the community. Given his threat, I reported the matter to the police and Department of State Services.”
However, Mr Babazango replied: “My neighbour sold the house to a businessman without waiting for me after I had indicated interest to buy the property. Believe me, I cannot guarantee his safety if he insists on owning the property because as it is, we live like brothers in this area.
“So for an outsider who is not from this part of the country to buy a property in this area, is unacceptable. I have reported the matter to the district head of Jemita and I will also take him to court if need be.”
Ismail Mamman, the vendor, added:“The property is mine and I sold it to Mr Vincent Umeh. All the documents were duly signed by me and my brother as witness between us, in the presence of a lawyer after we agreed on a price.
“I had approached him, my former neighbour, DCP Ibrahim Babazango that I wanted to sell my property. He said he would contact his brother but I didn’t get his feedback, so I sold it to a ready buyer. I have no problems with the buyer at all.”