Reacting, on behalf of the Jigawa State Government, the Deputy Governor, Barrister Ibrahim Hassan Hadejia said the 12,000 hectares which was initially given to Mr. Lee Group was inherited from the previous administration.
He said although they have promised to halt the project during the 2013 campaigns, they have to review their stance “having realized the importance of the project.”
The Deputy Governor stated that instead of ejecting the farmers from their ancestral lands, the present government reconsidered the matter and referred same to Jigawa State government comprehensive land allocation policy otherwise called Land Acquisition and Resettlement Framework.
“The land Use Act only said I should compensate you on the improvement on the land, these are buildings and if there is economic trees that are grown and bearing fruits. And strictly speaking it does not cover farmland. If farmland is acquired after harvest nobody pays you a Kobo that’s what the law says,” he said.
Speaking on compensation he said: “in Jigawa State, the compensation rate for land is N100, 000 per one hectare of land. Those people saying they got N30, 000, N8, 000 may be that is what is equivalent to their land. I can show you people who got N 3 million and N40 million. There is no going back on this project. Under the Land Use Act you can’t go to court and challenge the adequacy of compensation.
“Out of the 12,000 hectares granted to Mr. Lee in 2013, we now gave him only 6,000 hectares and told him you are going to pay for 12,000 hectares. 6,000 hectares will be exclusively for your use while the balance 6,000 hectares will be curved into plots of lands. Anybody whose land was affected on the acquisition will be allotted a piece of land where he can grow sugarcane for you on an out-grower basis and not only that in-between the rows of sugarcane in the out grower plots you will create a gap for their inter-cropping.”
On compensation, the deputy governor said so far close to 4000 people have been paid and verification for 2000 people has been done.
Speaking further on refusal of others to accept the compensation he stated that “the fact that they did not collect their compensation will not stop us. We don’t have to force anybody to accept their compensation cheques. The case is in court now where they are challenging overriding public interest. Let play on, the law must be allowed to take its course.”
The deputy governor denied any arrest of people who revolted against the project.
“But I understand four village heads were disciplined by Gumel Emirate Council for spreading misinformation,”he said.
He confirmed that the Lee Group has paid N2.1 billion for the 12,000 hectares ( on N100, 000 per hectare) into the coffers of state government. But denied that Mr. Lee has paid N20 million to fund sensitization of the communities on the project.
He however stated that a fraction of the compensation is set aside for sensitization.