By Grace Audu (ABUJA) –
All is now set for the commencement of work on the provision of engineering infrastructure in the first Land Swap District in Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
This followed the successful completion of the payment of compensation for crops and economic trees to the Alkali family, the last batch of beneficiaries in the phase 1 of the payment exercise.
The payment of compensation will now pave the way for contractors, Gwagwa Concession Limited, to mobilize to site, according to a statement by the Head, Public Relations & Information of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Mr. Richard Nduul, at the weekend.
According to the statement, the FCDA Executive Secretary, Engr. Shehu Hadi Ahmad, during the issuance of the cheques to the beneficiaries in Abuja on Friday, expressed delight at the amicable resolution of all issues that had surrounded the exercise, adding that the Minister of the FCT would be pleased at the development.
He assured that the FCT Administration would always be fair to the indigenous communities of the FCT while carrying out project developments in the territory.
While emphasizing that time and technology changes things, he urged the indigenous population in the FCT to see the creation of the FCT and the on-going developments as improvements in the lives of the people rather than interpreting it that the city has come to displace them.
He said that the Abuja of today was different from what it was in 1982 when he first came to the city on escortion as a student of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, noting that at that time, with the exception of maybe Area 1, Area 2 and Wuse zone 7, the entire place was a forest where animals of all kinds competed for attention with the few human beings available. Today, all that has changed with time and technology.
In a remark at the occasion, the Director, Resettlement and Compensation, ESV Perpetual Ohammah revealed that all grey areas had been ironed out and that both Gwagwa concession Limited and the Alkali family which had initially resisted and rejected the compensation were now ready to work together.
The Director explained that the Alkali family had a large chunk of property in phase 1 and was the outstanding family to be paid, adding that with the payments now made, work would commence in earnest.
Also speaking, the Managing Director of Gwagwa Concession Limited, Malam Faruk Saleh expressed gratitude to FCDA’s Executive Secretary Engr. Shehu Hadi Ahmad “for guided us through the process and we are happy together today as a lot can really be achieved together”.
The Managing Director explained that “we have concluded with this last family-the Alkali family, who are stakeholders in the Gwagwa District. A very big family, one of those who’s great, great grand fathers have lived in Gwagwa, so they are not encroachers, but stakeholders”.
He added that the amount paid to them was in accordance with the guidelines set by the department of Resettlement and Compensation, saying,” no amount is too much to be paid to them as agreed”
Maiungwa Abubakar Iyah, who spoke on behalf of the Alkali family, said they were happy with the payment and assured that they would cooperate with Gwagwa Concession Limited in the delivery of the project.
It would be recalled that on December 14th, 2021, the Honourable Minister of the FCT, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello performed the Ribbon-cutting ceremony to signify the ceremonial hand-over of the site to Gwagwa Concession Limited.
It would also be recalled that FCDA’s Executive Secretary Engr.Shehu Hadi Ahmad had in May, 2022 performed the flag-off of the issuance of payment cheques by Gwagwa Concession Limited for compensation for crops and economic trees to the first batch of beneficiaries in the phase 1 of the payment.