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Investigation Fraud in Centenary City's indigenes resettlement plan

Detailed transactions for the relocation of four communities in Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) to enable a private company build the Centenary City have emerged with fraud uncovered

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The Centenary City is to be built by Eagle Hills, a private company said to have played a vital role in building millennium cities across the globe.

But the Abuja project which commenced three years ago with the demarcation of houses for subsequent resettlement of people in Baruwa, Kpani Kpani, Toge and Dayisa villages is ongoing with lot of inadequacies.

Pulse gathered that while the total amount of money given to the locals is about N319 million, the Management of the Centenary Projects and the Federal Capital Territory Development Agency (FCDA) have declared about N1.237 billion as compensation paid to the indigenes of the affected settlements.

Following the valuation of crops/economic trees and structures/compensation of site for the Centenary City project at Wawa District, Phase V, FCC, the locals were to be relocated to another community in Kuje.

The locals had refused, insisting they want to be part of the centenary city. The intervention of FCDA, which urged the communities to accept their proposal, convinced them into agreement.

In a report by Daily Trust Newspapers of July 2015, the Managing Director of the Centenary city plc., Dr Ike Odenigwe had said that about 671 houses will be built for the original inhabitants living in the affected communities adding that the company had acquired a vast stretch of land at Gude, Kuje area council to build a cluster of 5 villages for the affected communities.

He also said that the sum of N1.237 billion has been spent on the compensation of the locals. Findings reveal that only N319 million was paid to the total number of the affected communities.

According to the locals, their farmlands were counted but the money was not given to each of them based on his or her farm land.

"Here is the list of the total farmlands in the four communities and the names of the people that own the land. They did not give the money individually. They just gave a total amount of money to be paid to every community and not individually," chairman of the resettled communities said.

Emmanuel Gade, who said that the Centenary City project is supposed to be historic, said their people also want to be part of it.

It was gathered that out of the four communities to be settled, Baruwa Community was allotted N80, 467, 925.00 for 702 families’ farm land.

Kpani Kpani Community which had 656 families as at the time of counting, were given N55, 551,671.50 to share.

Toge village was given N86, 614, 069.00 to share among 681 people whose farmlands and houses were counted.

The fourth community settled was Daisa village, which was allocated a total of N96, 941,343. 50 for about 1,200 people. These brought the total amount paid to the communities to about N319 million as against the N1.237 billion claimed by the managing director of the Centenary City project.

There were several complaints but the Centenary City management insisted it was the only money they can pay, locals said. They are still complaining and alleging fraud in their resettlement programme.

They insisted that some of them have two to three hectares of land apart from the houses but were given stipends.

"We are still in shock about the total amount of money declared by the Centenary City management as payment to us which was corroborated by the FCDA," Chairman of the communities said.

On whether they will relocate to Gude, a community in Kuje Area council, the chairman of the communities said it has never been their agreement.

"Initially, we were supposed to be relocated close to the University of Abuja permanent site. Our traditional ruler, Sarkin Garki, said he wouldn't allow us to be taken to another area council. He said that henceforth, every resettlement must be done within his jurisdiction and within AMAC."

"But the Centenary City people said they would take us to Gude. What we are saying is that, since they are bringing the city to us, let them keep us here so that we can also enjoy the city. That is our stand now," said Emmanuel Gadiya, Chairman of the four communities under the Centenary City project land.

According to him, the law says if houses are counted, after three years, another counting must be done "because the population must have increased."

"So, our children that time were not up to this number, but their population has since increased. Some were very young, while some have been born. More houses would have been built."

"The Centenary City management must still come back to us and let there be another counting. The last counting was done in 2013 when they marked these houses. The communities have resolved that we are not going to Gude. President Buhari should look at this issue very well and help us because we want to be part of the city. The amount declared for our resettlement is untrue" Gadiya added.

He said they have petitioned the Director, Resettlement and Compensation, Director, Urban and Regional Planning, Executive Secretary FCDA, Chief of Jiwa, Chief of Garki, Chief of Kuje, AMAC Chairman, House of Reps member and the Senator Representing FCT concerning the purported figure given as compensation to them by the management of the Centenary City project.

"We have contacted all of them including the management of the Centenary City project on the development. The management of the Centenary City projects are yet to retract the fictitious amount published in the Daily Trust Newspapers as compensation to us," he said.

Several visits to the office of the Centenary City project along airport road to seek for clarification concerning the project met a brick wall. One of the Marketing Officers of Eagle Hills on one occasion said the company does not speak to the press anyhow.

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