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Understanding The Dynamics Of N3.2bn Land Bank, Compensation In Nasarawa



Nasarawa State government has, in the past five years, expended over N2.8 billion on strategic land acquisition for future planning as well as development and compensation of acquired lands across the state. DONATUS NADI writes on efforts by the Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura administration towards implementing the general land use and detailed district plans in the state.

From 2012 to date, Nasarawa State government has made deliberate effort towards land acquisition for various development projects which has been a critical issue in the state since 2011 when Governor Umaru Tanko Almakura assumed office on a popular mandate. Since then, his passion for fast-tracking infrastructural development has paid-off in the state.

For Almakura to deliver in his bid to provide development in a chaotically unplanned urban centres, many people have to be displaced, and large numbers will also still be displaced in the future as various infrastructural  development projects are currently going on. Many of them are planned with the aim of fostering economic growth and developing new governmental institutions. This necessitated massive acquisition of land by the state government.

Acquisition of private land by the government for public purposes became a common practice in Nasarawa State since 2012, but unlike in other societies, land acquisition did not mean something threatening and frightening to landowners as government paid full compensation and relocated landowners long before it commenced any form of development.

From 2012 till date, Nasarawa State government has expended N3.2 billion on strategic land acquisition as part of its land bank for future development and in compensation for the lands used for the execution of various projects.

The state commissioner for Land and Town Planning, Mr. Sonny Agassi, said the huge investment in land banking is pursuant to Governor Almakura’s drive towards ensuring a secured developmental future for the state.

Agassi noted that in line with its mandate to ensure the full implementation of the general land use and detailed district plans in the state, the Nasarawa Geographic Information Service (NAGIS) embarked on calculated and planned land banking to assist government make convenient planning for future development.

He explained that the state’s most recent land acquisition include the one meant for the faculty of agriculture of the Nasarawa State University in Lafia, which was acquired on the March 2, 2017 at the cost of N129,875,000.00.

Others include those acquired for the construction of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission’s (EFCC) research and training institute in Kwandere, Lafia and Garaku township road in  Kokona local government at the sum of N53 million and N32 million respectively.

In an effort to decongest the state capital of vehicular obstruction caused by articulated vehicles, Agassi said the state government has also acquired  226.1 hectares of land for the construction of Trailers and coaches park at the cost of N150 million.

The acquisition of 1,200 hectares of land for the construction of Nigerian Army barracks in Doma local government area of the state at the staggering cost of N560 million from the former governor, Alhaji Aliyu Akwe Doma remains one of the biggest acquisitions, though he stressed that not all compensations have been paid.

Some of the earliest acquisitions date back to June 7, 2012 when the state government paid N58,982,200 as compensation for a 10.35 hectares of land meant for the construction of federal secretariat.

In securing land for the permanent site of the newly established Federal University, Lafia, the Nasarawa State government paid N310,327,185.00 for acquisition of land and properties on a 303 hectares of land in Mararaba Akunza.

In Doma local government area of the state where flood left families and homes ravaged for years, often disconnecting parts of Doma metropolis, Governor Al-makura paid the sum of N7,343,000 in compensation for the construction of St. John Bosco road which has laid to rest the yearly panic and suffering of the people of the area.

In Nasarawa Eggon local government, the state government acquired land and properties worth N50 million from Alhaji Usman Yamusa and 89 others in April, 2014, for the construction of roads which has helped decongest traffic on the trunk-A Akwanga-Lafia expressway which was hitherto the only road traversing the local government capital leading to avoidable accidents and loss of human lives and property.

Acquisition of 6.38 hectares of land and properties for the construction of the Akwanga modern market, in Akwanga local government cost the state government N7,135,000.00 in 2014 paid to Joshua James Makeri for the community. The market which has since been built and commissioned for use serves to also decongest the Akwanga-Keffi road with its attendant negative consequences in addition to the primary objective of boosting the economic base of the local government and, by inference, the state.

Disturbed by the traffic gridlock along Nyanya Gwandara in Karu local government area of the state in view of its proximity to Abuja, the state government paid N53,797,000.00 for a 2.2 hectares of land to Mr. Shiman Godwin Ngwa as compensation on re-acquisition of land and properties for the construction of public commercial motor park.

Mr. Agassi said in an effort to check the disturbing cases of solid waste management along the Keffi-Abuja corridor, the Nasarawa State government acquired 14.284 hectares of land as a refuse dump site at Tudun Wada-Auta Balefi, Karu local government.

Also, in Karu local government, he said the government paid N19 million to acquire 8.36 hectares of land at Kugwaru in September, 2016, from Mrs. Dangana and 23 others for refuse dump site.

The commissioner of Lands and Town Planning stated further that in Obi local government area, government paid N9,110,500.00 to Alh. Hassan Manya and 66 others as compensation for the construction of Kadarko-Giza-Keana road. He said government also paid N17,770,314.10 to Dauda Ogwede Adeshi and 78 others on the 11th May, 2016, for the construction of Obi township road which has given the local council capital a facelift and befitting status it deserves.

Documents obtained by LEADERSHIP indicate that the state government acquired 11,165 hectares of land for the new national housing programme in Akurba, Lafia local government, just as N28 million was paid for the expansion of the premier special school for people living with disabilities.

In Lafia, the state capital, which prior to governor Almakura’s ascension to power in 2011 had no single kilometer of asphalt road, the Nasarawa state government paid N17 million in compensation to land and property owners for the construction of Kurikyo road. Acquisition of land and properties for the construction of new market road cost N30 million, while compensations paid land owners for the construction of College of Agriculture-Kwandere road in Lafia cost N10,348,800.00.

Construction of roads and land for channelization of storm water in Bukan Sidi area of the state capital cost the state government N83 million in compensation, while compensation for the acquisition of qland and other landed properties for the construction of Lafia township road phase II, Jos road-Government Science School-Kwandere road cost the government N50 million.

According to available records compensation paid for the construction of UAC – Government Science School stands at N8 million, while N52 million was paid in compensation for the construction of Lubona-Angwan Jaba-Wadata road  in Lafia.

Also in February, 2015, government paid Augustine Embugushiki and 65 others the sum of N23 million in compensation for the construction of 16 Mangoes-Prison Yard road in Lafia.

Other lands acquired to developmental projects include that Niger Delta Power Holding Company/National Integrated Power Project in Akurba, Lafia, for a 330 Mva power substation aimed at alleviating the hardship endured by citizens of the state in power supply.