From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Scores of people, whose landed property and crops were claimed by the dualisation of Oyo-Ogbomoso Road, which is Section II of Ibadan-Ilorin Expressway, on Wednesday protested refusal of the Federal Government to pay them over N2.8billion balance of their compensation since 2011.
The affected property owners converged on a facility at Ajilete community, Gambari, in Ogbomoso, Oyo State and appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to prevail on the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, to ensure the payment of the balance of their compensation.
A prepared speech, endorsed by the trio of Lekan Ajagbe, Tijani Abdulrasheed,and Princess Grace Bello, was read on the occasion, on behalf of owners of structures and crops affected along Oyo- Ogbomoso (Route A2), Section II of Ibadan-Ilorin road dualisation project.
In the speech, read by Princess Bello, the affected people alleged that it was the deliberate intension of the Federal Ministry of Works to frustrate payment of compensation to them.
The affected people also said a document released by the Federal Ministry of Works revealed that the ministry has obtained approval for the payment of compensation to them four times, adding that the first approval was N334,421,163.40 and the whole amount was released as part payment for the compensation . They said the same thing happened when second approval of N2,028,590,717.90, was obtained, as the whole amount was used to pay part of the compensation.
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They stated further that the last two approvals of N1,337,636,340.30 and N1,337,636,340.30 respectively did not get to them, adding that the grand total of compensation claim is N4,881,901,765.68, while amount paid to them so far is N2,019,887,275.38, remaining outstanding balance of N2,862,014,490.30 to be paid to them. They reminded the Federal Government of the interest on delayed payment of compensation, saying it is at bank rate as provided for under Section 29(iv) of Land Use Act, Cap L5, LFN 2004.
The speech read in part: “While outstanding balance of N2,862,014,490.30 still remains unpaid by Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, it is in public domain that all necessary compensation claim was part of NNPC’s funding. We are now amazed as to the reasons why the Minister of Works and Housing has decided to single out compensation from being paid to Project Affected People (PAP) along Oyo-Ogbomoso Road Project after collecting same from NNPC.
“That is the reason why, out of deep frustration that we are gathered here today to express our displeasure to the attitude of the Federal Government of Nigeria, through its Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, for not paying us compensation for the portion of structures and crops that were affected by the dualisation exercise of Oyo-Ogbomoso Road construction.
“As law abiding citizens, who are receptive to the growth and development of every sector of the economy, we are not averse to this laudable project, which is aimed at bringing respite to motorists and reduce the accident rate on this hitherto deadly road. However, our grouse with the government, particularly the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing is its attitude and the political rigmarole being employed in paying compensation to the remaining affected persons along Oyo-Ogbomoso Road.”
They noted that people who were equally affected by the road projects and being funded by NNPC Tax Returns in other parts of the country have either been paid or are about to be paid their compensation.