Friday, 26 March 2021

Land speculators threaten take-off of Mambilla hydropower project

 Landowners in Mambilla Plateau of Sardauna Local Government Council of Taraba State have raised the alarm over the activities of speculators.

The ongoing activities of speculators in the Plateau, if not urgently stopped, DAILY POST observed would further frustrate the dream of President Muhammadu Buhari of making the multibillion Naira Mambilla Hydropower Power project bid to be situated in the State a reality.

As at the time of filing this report, our correspondent observed that prominent persons within the state are working to deny the natives the opportunities of being compensated and relocated when the federal government finally deems it fit to commence the project. 

Some of the natives who spoke to our correspondent alleged that speculators have been mounting pressures on them to sell their lands at cheaper prices.

The speculators who according to our sources said have already fashioned out plans to ensure that the compensations due to the natives are diverted to their personal accounts, believe that such actions would not only frustrate the natives, but would as well thwart government’s effort of making the project see the light of the day.

Our different sources who said the speculators are presently going about intimidating the natives urged the government to as a matter of urgency do the needful by ensuring that the natives are not displaced from their ancestral lands without due compensations.

Also, not comfortable with the activities of the speculators, majority of whom DAILY POST noticed are politicians and top government officials, some of the natives have vowed to go extra miles to stop the speculators from accessing their lands.

According to one of the natives who confirmed that “these people have been on my neck, pressuring me to sell all our family land to them,” said no amount of intimidation “would force me to do that because the land does not belong to only me but to all the members of our family. ”

Claiming that several petitions against the speculators have been written and forwarded to both the state governor, Arc. Darius Dickson Ishaku and the Minister of Power, Alhaji Saleh Mamman, the natives said they have realized the danger of giving out their lands to the speculators.

The natives who spoke through one Hassan Jude, told our correspondent that, ” for that to be achieved, our compensations should be paid directly into our bank accounts and not through any middleman.”

When reached via a telephone for confirmation, the Special Adviser to the Minister of Power on Public Affairs, Adamu Addo, who could not confirm whether the Ministry has received any of such petitions, said “it is premature for people to start talking of land speculations.”

Stressing that the Ministry “is well positioned, ” he said a committee assigned with the responsibility of ensuring smooth take off of the project by looking into complaints emanating from the area has been put in place.

While calling on the people to remain calm as the Ministry, according to him, would insert the right pegs in the right holes, the Minister said the government will ensure that the projects is done.

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