Nasarawa State government on Tuesday, commenced the payment of compensation to owners of lands earmarked for the proposed Lafia Cargo Airport.
Issuing out cheques to those affected in Lafia, the commissioner for Lands and Survey, Mr. Sunny Agassi, said the state government had earmarked the sum of N260 million to be given out to over 800 beneficiaries.
He explained that the said amount is for the acquisition of 926.5 hectares of land earmarked for the proposed project, noting that all the money due to affected persons is ready for prompt collection in the banks except for those collecting over N150, 000 who have to wait for three days in compliance with banking regulations.
The commissioner stressed that government has issued directive to the contractors not to commence construction on the land until every land owner has been duly compensated.
He said: “Land owners are collecting cheques of various sizes ranging from N30, 000 up to N6 million, but on the total the state government has earmarked the sum of N260 million for the compensation exercise.
“We have a total land size of 926.5 hectares of land that the government has earmarked for collection. But you also have to know that in land acquisition compensation excludes access roads and water bodies” he explained.
The commissioner explained that although the Land Use Act mandates Governor Umaru Tanko Almakura to pay compensation for economic trees and structures only, he was magnanimous enough to pay the sum N200,000 per hectare to every farmer in communities that are far removed from the city centres.
“We made sure communities were consulted, they sought tosee the governor and he appealed to them to look at the positive sides of the project and mind you also the Land Use Act vests these lands in the governor and if we are to abide strictly by it the governor is only obliged to pay for economic trees and structure, but out of the kindness of his heart and the appeal of the communities, he decided to go above and beyond that to pay N200, 000 per hectare”.
The village head of Danka community, Mr. Isa Musa, thanked Governor Almakura for his magnanimity and appealed to the government to reconsider an upward review of the compensation.