By Blessing David
The Federal Capital Development Authority FCDA has commenced settlement of compensation claims to the inhabitants currently occupying the area earmarked for the development of Gwagwa District.
Payment of the compensation to the natives is a major part of measures to pave way for commencement of work on the provision of engineering infrastructure to the first Land Swap District.
Executive Secretary, Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Engr. Shehu Hadi Ahmed, made the disclosure while speaking at the flag off ceremony for the issuance of the compensation cheques to affected members of the communities at the Authority’s Conference Hall in Garki recently.
Ahmed said: “We just flagged off the payment of compensation for economic trees and crops with respect to the acquisition of the land in Gwagwa District, meant for the development of infrastructure, through the land swap arrangement or initiative of the FCT Administration.
“This particular project is being handled by Messrs Gwagwa Concession, who upon the final review by the FCT Exco has been found to have complied with all the requirements under the FCT Administration’s private sector engagement through this land swap initiative and we are taking this as one of our pilot scheme.
“We hold this payment of compensation very prominent because the Hon. Minister has performed the flag off of the land swap programme in the FCT and for various reasons, we’ve not been able to really move on to site because this payment of the compensation had taken some time to get all the profile ready.
“Now that it has become ready, we thought this is something that the community will take very serious, FCT residents will take it that that the FCT Administration is really very prepared to go on to that and we have gotten an investor who has shown real seriousness and commitment to the Land Swap programme as a pilot scheme. If this succeeds, we are hoping to roll out many more and I think this is the essence of today’s flagging off of the payment of compensation.
“What is very obvious is that there is a comprehensive development agreement which was actually packaged and monitored and doctored by the Abuja Infrastructure Investment Centre. This is the pinnacle of it that it is upon the certification that this has passed through all the requirements that we find this particular investor has fulfilled all the requirements and was therefore presented to the FCT EXCO for approval”.
Director, department of Resettlement and Compensation, ESV Perpetua Ohamah, spoke on details of the compensation: “We have two cheques being presented to each person. One is as agreed with the Chief. That’s a base value for every indigene that is going to lose his land.
“Then we have our own valuation, which was done according to what is on ground. That cheque is also coming differently. This is to make sure that the indigenous people are happy and satisfied because we want them to be happy so that they can cooperate with government to achieve this objective.
“This is a very important programme for the government and the department is prepared to do anything it can to ensure the smooth running of the exercise and make the people happy.
Speaking on behalf of Gwagwa Concession Limited, Ishaku Dalhatu Batagarawa, Manager Operations, commended President Mohamed Buhari and management of Federal Capital Development Authority for the initiative to bring in the contribution of the private sector to the development of the capital City.
According to him, what we are witnessing today is historic and I want to assure all relevant stakeholders that we are ready to create a new Abuja town nicknamed Midtown modelled after cities like Abu Dhabi, Dubai or the capital city of Doha.
The land Swap for Infrastructure Model was actually introduced to see how the private sector can augment the effort of the government in accelerating development in the FCT, particularly in encouraging home ownership and development of infrastructure.