"As we leave here, the Federal Capital Territory, through the FCDA, will release the money approved for compensation and resettlement of those who are there," an official said.
The federal government has announced that it would pay N825.8 million as compensation to Jiwa Community of Abuja to pave the way for constructing the second runway at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja, Nigeria's capital city.
In a statement issued by Anthony Ogunleye, director of Press at the Office of the FCT Minister, on Tuesday, the government said that work would soon commence on constructing the second runway at the airport after signing the compensation agreement with the host community in Abuja.
"In the agreement signed between the Federal Capital Territory Administration, the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development and the Jiwa community in the FCT, on Tuesday, August 29, 2023, a sum of Eight Hundred and Twenty-Five Million, Eight Hundred and Nineteen Thousand, Nine Hundred and Eleven Naira Forty-Three Kobo (N825, 819,911.43) would be paid to the community as compensation to pave way for the commencement of work on the project," the statement said.
The statement did not give further details on the specific timeline of the project's commencement and completion.
The FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, assured that the money for compensation has been made available and will get to all affected in the next few days, the statement said.
"As we leave here, the Federal Capital Territory, through the FCDA, will release the money approved for compensation and resettlement of those who are there. The total value of what we are paying is N825, 819,911.43 (Eight hundred and twenty-five million, eight hundred and nineteen thousand naira, Nine Hundred and Eleven Naira Forty-Three Kobo) for the compensation and resettlement," Mr Wike said.
According to the statement, the contract for the construction of the second runway of the Abuja Airport was awarded in March 2022 by the Ministry of Aviation and AeroSpace Development, but work could not commence due to disagreements over issues of resettlement and compensation.
However, following the signing of the agreement between the FCTA and the Jiwa community, Mr Wike said contractors will now move to the site to commence work on the project after the payment of the agreed sum to the community.
The minister said President Bola Tinubu has mandated the Ministry of Aviation to kick-start and complete the second runway project, which is very vital for the international airport in the FCT.
According to the statement, Mr Wike also disclosed that as part of incentives to the community, the FCT Administration will give immediate employment to 10 indigenes of the Jiwa community, while another 12 will come from the Ministry of Aviation and the aviation Agencies.
He stated further that the FCT Administration will include the rehabilitation of the Tunga Madaki bridge in the Jiwa community in the 2024 budget, in addition to the provision of a modern healthcare facility.
"We are going to construct the Tunga Madaki bridge, which will be put in the 2024 budget. Secondly, we are going to provide the community with a modern healthcare facility that is better than what is there now," the Minister said.
"We believe by the grace of God if that is done today and then tomorrow or next tomorrow, the money is paid to them, the contractors will no longer delay. They have to move to the site immediately and commence work. The second runway has come to stay".
On his part, the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, said work should have started on the second runway project, but contractors could not be mobilised to the site due to the contending issues.
Mr Keyamo urged the community to cooperate with the government to ensure the realisation of the project, adding that they also stand to benefit from the development in the area in addition to other corporate social responsibility to the community.
In his reaction, the Sarkin Jiwa, Idris Musa, assured of the cooperation and support of the Jiwa community towards the actualisation of the project, which, he said, is in the overriding interest of the public.