Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari saturday in Abuja warned state governments and communities allegedly frustrating the execution of federal projects in their domains to desist or risk having such projects relocated.
According to a statement by presidential spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, such states and communities create unnecessary impediments over the allocation of lands or access to such lands for the execution of federal projects.
“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,” he quoted the president as saying.
Shehu disclosed that in a recent directive to ministers, the president told his ministers to leave the task of clearing all lingering land issues threatening federal projects under their supervision to affected states.
He explained that Buhari stated in clear terms that if such states failed to yield to such directives, affected projects should be moved to willing states.
The statement added that Buhari regretted that some communities in the states were frustrating the siting of federal projects in their domains by making impossible demands for land compensation from contractors and even chasing them away if they are unable to meet the demands.
It also said the matter was further compounded as contractors kept away from sites often make further demands on payment whenever they return to sites.
The statement said the presidency noted that the refusal to allocate lands for federal projects or the growing hostility by communities against contractors on sites were hurting the interests of the people the government was elected to serve.
‘’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,” Buhari was further quoted.
It also noted that “when it comes to the welfare of the people, governments at all levels should be united by the common goal of improving the well being of the people, regardless of political affiliation.’’
The statement observed that it would be impossible to spread federal government projects when petty demands or politics is allowed to override the higher interests of the people.