Pay Our Compensation — Owners Of Demolished Houses On Oyo-Ogbomoso Road Appeal To FG

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    Eleven years after their houses were demolished and marked for demolition for road construction along Oyo-Ogbomoso route A2 section II of Ibadan-Ilorin new expressway, victims have appealed to the Federal Government of Nigeria to hasten the payment of their compensation.

    This was said at the press conference held at Ajilete FM, Ogbomoso, Oyo State, on Febuary 9, 2022. At the conference, the victims voiced out their grievances, and appeal to the Federal Government to hasten the payment of their compensation.

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    Some of these victims said their buildings were marked for demolition in 2011 and 2017 respectively. While some were said to have been compensated, others are waiting for their own compensation.

    The summary of the payment is as follows: grand total compensation claim is N4,881,901,765.68, amount paid so far is N2, 019,887,275.38, outstanding balance to be paid is N2,862,014,490.30.

    The roads are under the Federal Government Road Infrastructural Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme under Nigeria National Petroleum Commission, NNPC.

    The victims said they are in support of the project because it will lessen the burden on the people plying the roads. In the prepared speech read by Princess Grace Bello, she said, “we 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 particular 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.”

    However, they accused the government of nonchalant attitudes to the plights of the affected people. Some of the victims who spoke to journalists about their grievances said since their buildings were marked for demolition in 2011, they are yet to be compensated by the government.

    One of the victims, Mrs Elizabeth Ajoke, said her house and church were marked for demolition. She said: “most of them whose houses were marked for demolition along Washington area are widows.” She therefore appeal to the Federal Government to hasten the payment because some of them are brooding which may lead to ill-health.

    Also, Pastor Ayinda kolawole whose church was marked for demolition said that they have tried all the means to reach out to government to release the payment of their compensation but all are yet to be materialised.

    However, they accuse the Ministry of Works and Housing of shifting the “responsibility of the outstanding compensation on Oyo-ogbomoso road project to Oyo state Government in its circular Ref. No FMWH/W/DHCR/GC/T4/43 dated 29th January, 2021.”

    In the memo by the Ministry, titled: Acquisition and Compensation for Building/Structures, Crops/Economic Trees and Unexhausted Improvement Within the Right of Way (ROW) of Road Projects added that “In line with the resolution of the 19th meeting of the Federal Executive Council(FEC) held on Wednesday, 2nd October, 2019, the acquisition and payment of compensation for structures and economic trees/crops are now the responsibility of State Government.”

    However, the victims opined that shifting the responsibility on the state government by the federal government is tantamount to “silence the structure owners and permanently deprive them of their constitutional and legitimate rights because this politically motivated positions is in contravention of the existing legislations in Nigeria.
    “Going the relevant sections of our laws, this act of non-payment of compensation to project affected people is aimed at deliberate alienating them of their constitutional rights; it is illegal, unconstitutional, oppressive and subjecting them to untold hardship and unwarranted trauma.

    It is important to mention that compensation which is just about 5% of the total cost of the project started and approval obtained in some areas since 2012 and the value has remained the same whereas the other aspects of the project has been reviewed several times so much tat the total cost of the project has jumped from 44 billion naira in 2011 to over 100 billion naira today. Yet, the affected structures owners have not been paid their compensation since 2011 and that various sums approved as compensation for the structures of the affected persons as valued by the Federal Government Consultant Estate Surveyor and Values had remained the same and unpaid till date.This is unfortunate and goes to show the extent our government can go in cheating their own citizens.”

    The victims said they have written to the President Muhammad Buhari; Senator Ahmed Lawal, Senate President; Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives, urging them to prevail on the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola to effect payment of their outstanding compensation.

    In his opening remarks, Barr. Benjamin Ogunleye noted that the gathering was to let “Nigerian know the problems we have been facing especially in the area of compensation for structures and some crops on the construction of Oyo-Ogbomoso dualization roads.”

    The press statement was signed by Princess Grace Bello, Mr. Lekan Ajagbe, and Alfa Tijani Abdulrasheed.

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