Members of the over 90 communities affected by the ongoing construction of Zungeru Hydroelectric Dam in Niger State have vowed to stop the ongoing construction until they were fully compensated for their lands that was taken over for the project.
Speaking, the representative of the members of the affected communities, Zubairu Umar from Jiko community said they were told when the project was inaugurated that the construction works would not begin until all compensations were paid, but to their surprise, three years after the taking off of the project they were not compensated.
He further explained that the recent commencement of rocks blasting in the area had subjected the residents of the surrounding communities to untold hardship, as whenever such blast took place they would be asked to leave their respective houses and take cover in the bush of a distance of about 500 metres away.
He said whenever they made effort to demand their compensation from the federal government, officials of federal Ministry of Power dismissed them by telling them to demand their compensation from the Community Relation Committee that was set up by the federal government.
“We will go to any length to ensure that our compensation is paid, even if it means to force work on the construction site to stop. The Federal Ministry of Power has been deceiving us whenever we demanded for our right they will tell us that all has been given to the community Relation committee and we should look for our compensation from them,” he said.
Also speaking to our correspondent was a community leader, Umar Usman from Maikaki community who said they were forced to embark on protest demonstration because of the insensitivity of the federal government over their plight and that last Monday, they had to embark on protest to press home their demand, though the military personnel deployed to the area stopped the from reaching the construction site.
According to him, compensation of economic trees had commenced last year when only about 10 percent of the effected population were paid, saying even the few that were compensated their economic trees were grossly undervalued, as there were those that got as low as N3000 as compensation.
Contacted, the chairman of the Community Relation Committee, Isa Jibril said his committee was not responsible for the payment of compensation, saying “our responsibility is to serve as a buffer between the communities and the federal government. Our committee has nothing to do with money.”

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