Nyesom Wike, minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has announced that N825.8 million will be paid as compensation to residents affected by the expansion of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
In 2022, the Federal Government approved the construction of a second runway at the airport for a sum of N14 billion.
The FCT minister spoke in Abuja on Tuesday while briefing journalists at the end of a closed-door meeting with members of the Jiwa community and other stakeholders.
Wike said the amount would be paid through the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) for compensation and resettlement of the people of the community affected by the project.
He added that as part of the incentives provided by the government, 12 people from the community would be employed by the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development and its agencies, while 10 would be employed by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA).
The former Rivers governor said the government would also construct the Tunga Madaki bridge alongside a 5km road leading from the bridge to the community for easy movement of the people.
The minister explained that the project would be captured in the 2024 budget of the FCTA.
He said that FCTA would equally provide a modern health facility to provide quality healthcare services for people of the community.
Wike said that an undertaking would be signed based on the agreement between the government and the community.
According to him, the signatories were the permanent secretaries of FCTA and Ministry of Aviation; Isa Idris, the chief of Jiwa; the chairman of the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC); and the commissioner of the Public Complaints Commission (PCC).
“If that is done today, and tomorrow or next tomorrow the money is paid to them, contractors will no longer delay. They have to move to the site immediately and commence work.
“So, the second runway has come to stay,” he said.
According to Wike, the Tinubu administration was determined to ensure that the second runway was delivered.
On his part, Emmanuel Meribole, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Aviation, said the project was awarded to four contractors in April, having CCECC Nigeria Limited as the major contractor.
Meribole noted that the project was stalled because of the disagreement over compensation to the affected community members.
Isa Idris of the Ministry of Aviation, through its consultant, had earlier pegged the compensation at N2.5 million per hectare, for the 12,000 hectares allocated for the project.
He said the amount was later reviewed downwards to N700,000 per hectare when FCTA took over the discussion as the rightful authority to determine how much compensation was to be paid to the affected landowners.
Idris said the community took the matter to the Public Complaints Commission (PCC) in order to resolve the issue amicably.
On their part, the community leader worried that his people were concerned that the N700,000 being offered per hectare would not be enough for the affected persons to acquire another land.