The more than 2,000 land owners affected by the construction of the Second Niger Bridge on Thursday protested non-payment of compensation in Asaba, the Delta State capital.
The land owners whose property fell within the right of way corridor leading to the second Niger bridge (phases 2a and 2b), marched to the Ministry of Works & Housing at the Federal Secretariat Asaba, to register their grievances, Punch reported.
The protesters from Delta and Anambra States carried placards of different inscriptions which read; “Pay us our compensation for taking our land; Compensation is our right; Diversion is not a solution to the problem; Abacha loot must be used judiciously; Fashola stop these lies,” among others.
One of the leader of the protesters, Captain Samuel Akaraiwe (retd), called on President Muhammadu Buhari to as matter of urgency looks into the matter.
He said, “Five years ago, Federal Government came and acquired our property for the construction of second Niger bridge.
“We have since patiently waited for the payment of compensation due to us but to no avail.
“Recently, we started hearing about plans being made by the Federal Government to officially commission the bridge with a claim by the Minister for Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, saying the project is 95% completed and that phase 2A Okwe-Okpanam is left with 4km not done due to flooding.
“We left the property for them and them demolished most of them in the course of construction, they brought compensation form, we filled and they took our bank details for the payment of compensation.
“The claim by Mr. Fashola is not true as the distance covered during the enumeration and verification of crops and structures is over 17.5 km between Okwe to Okpanam in Delta state while 17.30 km of Phase 2B from Obosi to Enugu expressway in Anambra State.”
Another land owner, Mrs Josephine Crossdale, said, “We want to let President Buhari know that we have not been compensated till date.
“They did enumeration and valued our property, we went to the Ministry of Works and did all the necessary documentation, not knowing that Fashola has plans not to pay us our right.
“Now, our properties have been vandalised, our land have been acquired by the Federal Government without compensation and turned us to tenants.”
Similarly, one of the victims who is a widow, Mrs Christiana Visor, whose husband died in the course, lamented difficulty facing the family.
“My husband died in this course, till date nothing has been giving to us. They took our house, now we are tenants expecting our compensation but nothing is forthcoming.
“The money should be paid to us with the present economy value because the price of cement last two years is not same today.”
They alleged that their properties were compulsorily acquired by the Federal Government for the express purpose of constructing the access road to the second Niger bridge, according to Punch.