N1.2bn land compensation: Taraba communities demand probe of disbursement committees

Posted by News Express | 31 July 2015 | 2,776 times

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Lau Communities Development Association in Taraba on Thursday urged the state government to investigate the disbursement of N1.2 billion funds for compensation for land acquired by Dangote Group.

Chairman of the association, Mr. Silas Usman, made the call at a news conference in Jalingo.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Dangote Group had in 2006, paid the money to the communities for more than 16,000 hectares of land it acquired for a sugar plantation and manufacturing company in the area.

Usman said that investigating the activities of two separate committees led by Alhaji Armayau Abubakar and Mr. Irimiya Julde, respectively, which handled the disbursement of the funds, was imperative in order to unearth irregularities in the process.

He said no fewer than 200 farmers whose lands were acquired, had not been compensated, adding that those paid received only 10 per cent to 30 per cent of their entitlements, without any date to collect the balance.

He denied claims by Abubakar committee that it paid N800 million to the land owners, alleging that the committee only disbursed N483 million.

The chairman also said that claims by Julde’s committee that it paid out N400 million was false as many of the peasant farmers were still without means of livelihood.

He noted that, “The committee did not even take into account the economic trees, settlement areas and ancestral worship places owned by the indigenous people in the area.

“What is even worse is that majority of those paid by both compensation committees were non-indigenes who did not own any piece of land in the area.”

He, therefore, urged the state government to urgently ensure that all the persons who illegally benefitted from the compensation were prosecuted, while the genuine owners of the land should be identified and paid their entitlements.

In his reaction, Abubakar denied the allegations, describing them as “baseless and unfounded.”

Similarly, Irimiya Julde said his committee was aware of ‘’a certain number of unpaid land owners’’ and had recommend for their payment by the state government.

He, however, said the committee was still compiling its reports on the compensation exercise and would submit it to the government soon. (NAN)

*Photo shows Taraba Gov.



Source: News Express

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