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HomeAbuja NewsAbuja 2nd runway: How Wike resolved 15yr tussle

Abuja 2nd runway: How Wike resolved 15yr tussle

· FCDA kicks over compensation


Over 15 years after the idea of a second runway for the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, was conceptualised, the project may finally take-off anytime soon following the resolution of compensation for the host community.

Construction of the second runway at the airport faced serious opposition during the administration of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua over the cost of the project which was estimated at N64 billion at the time.

The then House Committee on Aviation made comparative analysis of the cost of the project and similar projects around the world and concluded that the cost of Abuja runway project was outrageous.

However, in March 2022, the federal government approved N92,123, 175,305.77 about N28billion more than it was budgeted for in 2008.

The contractor, CCECC, was given a timeline of 12 months for completion of the project, however, the host community in Jiwa protested their eviction from their ancestral lands, demanding compensation from government.

The community had initially reached an agreement of N2.2million per hectare with a consultant with the aviation ministry. But the there was no headway with the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.

However, at a recent parley with members of the community and other stakeholders, the FCT minister, Nyesom Wike, accused the aviation ministry of usurping the powers of the FCT Administration by discussing land compensation with the community.

The minister said he understood their pains and would do all in his power to get them their dues.

Consequently, he directed the immediate payment of N700,000 per hectare, amounting to N825 million, in compensation to the affected land owners.

Briefing journalists on the resolutions reached at the meeting, Wike said; “We have been able to resolve amicably with the community, and contractors will now move to site.

“The FCT, through the Federal Capital Development Authority, FCDA, will release the money approved for compensation and settlement of those who are there. The total value is N825.82 million for the compensation and resettlement.

“As part of the incentives to the community, 12 immediate employment will be provided from the Ministry of Aviation and its agencies as the case maybe, and 10 from the Federal Capital Territory Administration for the Jiwa community.

“We are going to construct Tunga Madaki Bridge, which we will put in the 2024 budget, with a 5km road. We are going to provide a modern healthcare facility for the community.

“The permanent secretaries from the Ministry of Aviation and that of the FCTA, His Royal Highness (the Sarkin Jiwa), AMAC Chairman, and the Commissioner, Public Complaints Commission (FCT) will sign the agreement reached between government and Jiwa Community. The moment the money gets to them, the contractors will no longer delay, as they have to move to the site immediately and commence work. So, the second runway has come to stay,” Wike stated.

According to the minister, “We have only one runway. How would you feel if something happens to that runway tomorrow? It means there will be no flights. In a city as big and cosmopolitan as Abuja?” He queried.

Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr. Festus Keyamo, at the meeting acknowledged that the ministry erred in the past by dabbling into issues outside its jurisdictions.

According to him, “It is not the business of aviation to assess compensation in matters of land in the FCT. So, I want to appeal to the community whatever you discussed with aviation before was totally outside the powers of aviation. It is within the powers of the FCTA to do that. There is a certain legal schedule by which compensation is paid. We know the implications of not following the provisions of the law. When they say rule of law, it does not apply to government alone. It applies to all.”

Traditional ruler of Jiwa, Alhaji Idris Musa, had explained the frustration of his people amid the back and forth in respect of compensation.

He said; “We sat with the aviation and FCT Administration. Aviation has a consultant in respect of the compensation but it was the consultant who sat with us and in certain terms, we have agreed with the consultant that they will pay N2.5m per hectare.

“But at last, the administration said aviation had no right to do that, that it is the FCTA that should do it. Then each hectare came to less than N700,000”.

On his part, the Executive Secretary of FCDA, Shehu Hadi, had clarified that the FCTA has no business offering compensation to occupants of land having issued the land to a third party.

According to him, it is the duty of anyone who is offered land to compensate the occupants of that land.

“I want to clarify one of the issues raised which is payment of compensation. That is where the FCT perspective on this issue has to be made clear. It is the responsibility of the MDAs to make arrangements for the payment of compensation after we have allocated lands to them.

“The Department of Resettlement and Compensation in the FCT assists in the enumeration of economic trees, structures etc for compensation,” he stated.

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