Compensation With Tears: Lamentations From Abuja

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  • the experience of Byazhin-Shelter Farm/Chikapere communities

 

Anthony Paul sat on a rickety chair under a Moringa tree in front of his bungalow holding a cheque he just got from Alfa Hassan, a consultant to the Federal Ministry of Transport. He faced the bungalow, shook his head several times, clenched his right fist angrily and clicked his tongue about three times but from his look, his mind was somewhere else.

Anthony stamped his left foot on the dusty ground and spoke to no one in particular: “these evil servants and the consultant are enemies of this administration. They are saboteurs. They don’t love this country and humanity.”

He and 103 other landlords at Byazhin-Shelter Farm/Chikapere communities were affected by government’s well thought out plan to reduce pressure on roads in the country by constructing the Abuja- Kaduna railway line.

Monies were budgeted by government to compensate those whose property would be affected by the railway line construction. The Federal Ministry of Transport appointed some consultants to liase with the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), on the best method of compensating the landlords.

After several meetings and evaluation of the affected properties which started in April 2012, government decided to mitigate the hardship of the landlords and put smiles on their faces by paying them compensation, but that was the beginning of their tales of woe.

Immediately the evaluation was done and government set aside several millions of naira to compensate the land owners, some civil servants in both FCDA and Federal Ministry of Transport went to work and like vicious house rats, perfected plans to take a fraction of money from the already traumatized victims of demolition.

Specifically, they turned themselves into facilitators and compelled those who are eager to collect their cheques into patting away with 25 percent of the compensation sum.

Specifically one Jimoh Momoh, the desk officer on the compensation issue and some civil servants turned themselves to facilitators and forced the land owners to part with the percentage.

Jimoh made those who were interested in getting their cheques to sign what he called, “facilitation agreement”.

Part of the facilitation agreement states that,”the facilitator holds out to the client that he can assist him process and obtain his compensation benefits. As a result, the client has now given the sum of N110,000.00 to the facilitator for processing the compensation benefits for him on the condition that the client will pay the balance of N835,000.00 immediately the compensation is paid to his client “.

Working like organized criminals, immediately Anthony got information that his cheque was ready for collection at the office of  Alfa Alhassan In Kaduna, he was shocked when he got to the office and rather than give him his cheque,Alhassan alerted Jimoh who insisted he should be around when the cheque would be handed over to Anthony. Like obidient team player, Alhassan refused to give Anthony his cheque until Jimoh joined then and took a fraction of the benefit.

Some of the land owners in interviews with The Nigerian News alleged that the bulk of the compensation benefit had been released by government but paid into an interest yielding bank account.

When contacted, Alhassan denied working with such civil servants to make life difficult for the land owners.

Jimoh Momoh refused to pick calls . He also refused to respond to messaged sent to him. Some civil servants at the FCDA and Ministry of Transport who are not part of the syndicate appealed to government to investigate the issue.

Efforts to get comments from both the FCT minister and his transportation counterpart proved abortive last week.

 

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