Niger State government in collaboration with Affordable Brains and Hammer Limited, has paid compensation to the people of Jibi (Zhibi) Community in Tafa local government area of the State, for the farmlands acquired for housing project by the state government in collaboration with the developer.
Speaking during the third phase of presentation of cheques to the claimants, the state commissioner for Lands and Housing, Barrister Mukhtar Ibrahim Nasale, notes the identification and assessment of the land has been carried out earlier and the owners were also identified according to the size of their farmlands.
He explained that they have guidelines for assessing farmlands which is the standard practice, stressing that some farmlands might be the same in terms of size, but the economic trees and some other improvements on them were factored into their values for payment of compensation.
“You may discover some discrepancies in the value, the thing is that we may have the same hectares of land but mine has like 20 economic trees. You don’t expect the value of my land to be the same with the value of someone who has similar hectares with just two or three economic trees.
“That is where we have the discrepancies, it is not as if they were underassessed or undervalued”, the commissioner explained.
He added that the project was a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement between the State Government and Brains and Hammers Company, disclosing that the event of the day was the third phase presentation of cheques to the claimants of the farmlands acquired.
The commissioner also stated that the first and third phase of the presentation were carried out without any hitch, but that the second phase exercise had some outstanding, as a result of improper documentations which according to him were corrected and the claimants were presented their cheques during the third phase of the presentation, disclosing that about N183million was paid for the third phase while about N59million was paid as backlog of the second phase.
He also advised the beneficiaries to invest the proceeds, saying it was part of their lands which they used as source of livelihood that was taken from them, hence the need to make judicious use of the money by investing it.
Similarly, the chief operating officer of Affordable Brains and Hammers, Kabir Gano says about 400 hectares of the farmlands was so far acquired for the project, adding that they have gone far in developing the farmlands.
He states that they were currently on the finishing touches of the phase one, cluster one and two of the project which were already completed and they were planning to handover by June this year. He added that they have moved into the phase three, where they entered into partnership with the Federal Mortgage Bank to build 1,250 houses for civil servants in Abuja.
“For phase one cluster one and two, we are planning to handover by June.
“The infrastructures are already there, only water and electricity are awaiting connection which will take us the next 30 to 40 days,” he said.
The chief operating officer states that the compensation assessment was done by the state government and gave them the bill which the company paid to the government and they in turn paid the beneficiaries.
He explained that a joint account was opened between his company and the state government to ensure that none of them had clontrol over the account, adding that they have records of the owners of the farmlands and those who collected the money, so that in future, no one will come and say his land was taken and he was not paid.
The personal assistant to the Emir of Zazzau, Suleja, Alh. Shuaibu Gani notes that Suleja Emirate was happy that the farmlands were acquired for development, and called on the beneficiaries to make good use of the money, adding that the compensation can help them to recover what was taken from them.
The Dagacin Jibi (Zhibi), Mohammed Dahiru Daudu states that they were satisfied with the process even though some people’s names were omitted and the commissioner had stepped in to address the issue.
He also urged all the beneficiaries to get another place, so that their children can have a place to farm on because that is the only occupation they know.