Nasarawa State government yesterday commenced the payment of compensation of over N260million to owners of lands earmarked for the proposed Lafia cargo airport.
State Commissioner for Land, Survey and Town Planning, Mr. Sonny Agassi, who disclosed this while disbursing cheques to those affected in Lafia, explained that the state government had earmarked the sum of N260 million to be given out to over 800 beneficiaries.
He said the amount was for the acquisition of 926.5 hectares of land earmarked for the proposed project, noting that all the money due to affected persons was ready for prompt collection in the banks except for those collecting above N150, 000 would have to wait for three days in compliance with banking regulations.
Agassi pointed out that government had issued directive to the contractors not to commence construction on the land until every land owner was duly compensated in line with Governor Al-Makura’s commitment to adherence to due process.
“Land owners are collecting cheques of various sums ranging from N30, 000 to N6 million, but on the total the state government has earmarked the sum of N260 million for the compensation exercise.”
According to the commissioner, “We have a total land size of 926.75 hectares that the government has earmarked for collection. But you also have to know that in land acquisition compensation excludes access roads and water bodies because they are natural,” he noted.
He further noted that although the Land Use Act mandates the state governor 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 to see 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 structures, 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,” he explained.

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