The Federal Government on Saturday commenced the payment of compensation to the 98 communities affected by the Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Dam Project in Niger.
Alhaji Abdulmalik Cheche, Chairman, Compensation and Relocation Committee of the project, said this in Minna while addressing the people of the affected communities on how to go about documentation and payment.
“The Federal Government is working round the clock to fulfill its obligation by compensating you, so as to fast track the completion of the Zungeru dam project within the stipulated period,’’ he said.
He said that the payment, which would be made in batches, would be based on the proximity of the communities to the dam site.
Cheche, who is also the state Commissioner for Works and Transport, explained that the change in the mode of payment was due to security issues.
According to him, each of you that is affected will go to the bank and present the necessary documents and data capturing will be done before the cheque will be issued to you.
The chairman, who did not disclose the financial implication of the exercise, said that payments are being made in order to enable the contractors carry out construction works uninterrupted.
He appealed to the people to exercise patience as the government was working out modalities toward ensuring full payment of their entitlements.
Similarly, Mr Olatunbosun Owoeye, Assistant Director, Power, Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, expressed satisfaction on the level of work done at the dam site.
Owoeye said the current payment was to ensure that the rock blasters near the project site are settled so they can move away from the location to avoid distraction.
He said that when the project was completed the dam would generate 700 megawatts of electricity.
The assistant director said that compensation to individual farmland depends on the size of land which was determined by the State Ministry of Lands and Housing.
He added that the next phase of payment would commence next week.
Also speaking, Amb. Mohammed Manta, a representative of the communities commended the Federal Government for the gesture.
Manta appreciated Niger government for setting up the 23-man committee with people of proven integrity.
“Commencement of this payment today has shown the determination of the Federal Government to hasten the completion of Zungeru dam project.
“As the dam will be of immense economic benefit to the people and government of Niger state and Nigeria,’’ he said.