By Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Calabar
About 200 of the 610 housing units constructed in Akpabuyo near Calabar for Civil and Public Servants by the Cross River State Government is expected to be completed in August this year.
But the landlord community Atimbo is complaining that the State Government still owes them N11 million being balance of the compensation for the economic crops in the vast mass of lands that was acquired for the project.
The Assistant Project Manager of Aso Investment and Development Company PLC, that is handling the construction work, Architect Mandela Adamu said although, the project was billed for completion last year, his company was only mobilized to site December, 2010 and mentioned hitches from the community among others as some of the draw backs.
“They initially wanted us to pay N500 per linear measure excavation work, but we had to talk and talk till we arrived at N200 and that actually took us time. It was not a one day thing. Besides, there are other factors still from the land lord communities, which have delayed the work,” he said.
Architect Adamu said the first 200 units would be completed in six months as foundation would be raised next week adding that materials are bulk purchased from various companies while the sand, gravels and labors are source locally.
He said the project has a minor digression from the initial conceptualization stating that it would no more be mortgaged to civil servants as earlier planned but would be placed on out right sale to them and other members of the public.
On the cost of the houses he said that none of the structures would be less than N3miilion.
“We can also do mortgage for interested buyers who would pay for a long time. It is going to be a contributory saving scheme with our finance out fit, Aso savings. All you need do is to give us details about your job status and all of that as a civil or public servant”, the Assistant Project Manager mentioned.
He further disclosed that the housing units include three bedroom detached bungalow, three bedrooms Semi_detached bungalow, two bedrooms detached bungalow, two bedroom semi_detached bungalow and one bedroom terrace bungalow among others. Adamu ruled out logistic problems adding that the job would be delivered on record time.
The State Governor, Liyel Imoke had in 2008 performed the ground_breaking for housing estate for civil servants in the state assuring that the project which was to be on jointly funded would be completed in 2010.
But the community demanding the compensation is claiming that the N11million is the balance of the compensation for the land belonging to the three landlord communities of Ikot Asuquo Ukut, Ikot Ansa Archibong and Atimbo, for roads bisecting their communities constructed at the instance of sitting the housing projects on their land.
The communities also want the 100 housing units free since the government has taken a larger expanse of land even as those whose houses and lands were usurped into the project are till date stranded.
They argue that although, government has paid for economic trees, but compensation for their land has not been paid, whereas more of their land continues to be seized for the project.
According to them, since the initial plan of government to mortgage the houses to civil servants have been changed to outright sale to the public, it was necessary to review the arrangement in their favor hence the call for 100 housing units to them free to compensate for the loss of their farm land and land space.
Youth leader of the Ikot Asuquo Ukut community, Prince Edet Hogan who commented on the development said they gave out the vast land mass because government had caused them to believe giving out the land would be for sitting industries and thus beneficial to them but alas it turned out to be residential buildings which according to him would only have little impact on them.
Again, he remarked that the state officials had written to them with the purpose of taking the entire land for the project but that attracted a swift response as the community resisted that only a portion of the community land was given out and not the entire land as earlier insinuated.