President Muhammadu Buhari says henceforth, the Federal Government may be forced to re-allocate projects elsewhere if any state government or community creates unnecessary impediments in the allocation of land or access to such lands for federal projects.
The president gave the indication in a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Saturday.
He said: “The idea of chasing away contractors on-site or making undue demands from them by local communities or the deliberate actions of state governments to frustrate the allocation of lands for federal projects is an antithesis of the people’s welfare.”
The president had recently requested ministers to have the states clear all lingering land issues threatening federal projects under their supervision or have such projects moved to willing states, where that became impossible.
He expressed the regret that some communities in the states were frustrating the siting of federal projects in their areas by making impossible demands for land compensation on contractors and even chasing them away from the site where they were unable to meet up.
“To compound matters, contractors kept away from the site often make further demands on payment whenever they return to the site,” he said.
The presidential aide added that the refusal to allocate lands for federal projects or the growing hostility by communities against contractors on site were hurting the interests of the very people whose governments were elected to serve.
He said: ”By denying federal government lands for projects and creating unnecessary obstacles for the execution of these projects, it may be unfair to turn around and accuse the same Federal Government of marginalising people in terms of projects allocation.
”When it comes to the welfare of the people, governments at all levels should be united by the common goal of improving their wellbeing, regardless of political affiliation.”
”It is, therefore, impossible to spread Federal Government projects when petty demands or politics is allowed to override the higher interest of the people.”