Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
The Ekiti State Government has compensated no fewer than 74 farmers, whose cash crops will be affected by the construction of six recently unveiled rural road projects in different parts of the state.
This was revealed in a statement by the Coordinator of Ekiti State Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project (EK-RAAMP), Mr. Sunday Adunmo yesterday, disclosing that the farmers received N2.857 million as compensation for affected crops only.
Adunmo explained that 74 farmers in five of the six roads “have received compensation totalling N2.857 Million in line with the World Bank standard, which mandated the project to compensate farmers before their cash crops could be removed to pave way for the construction work.
Adunmo added that the payment of compensation was aimed at protecting the farmers from the losses that would arise from the construction work.
H said that the 74 beneficiaries were selected through an enumeration exercise carried out by a consultant.
He said the payment for affected crops was the first phase of compensation as farmers whose houses would be affected by the construction work would soon be compensated according to the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP).
Adunmo said several stakeholders’ sensitization meetings had been held with the benefiting communities with the aim of getting the people’s support for the project and to forestall any hitches that might ensue during construction.
He said the project would be accompanied by innovations such as the provision of clinics, market hubs and other intervention projects that would make life comfortable for the rural dwellers.
He disclosed that Compensation and Redress Committees were constituted with each being chaired by representatives of the benefiting communities in order to ensure that the road users truly take ownership of the project.
One of the beneficiaries of the compensation at Ogotun- Alagbede village, Mr. Tajudeen Afolabi commended the state government for carrying farmers along in the compensation process.
He added that farmers were not only paid compensation before their crops fell, they were adequately notified so that nobody would suffer any losses.
At Imesi-Kosomolate-Ipole road, Mrs Victoria Obanua recalled the difficulty experienced by farmers in transporting their produce from the farm to the major road.
She added that it would sometimes take them 3 hours before they would eventually get a commercial motorcyclist who would reluctantly agree to transport their goods with huge transport fare.
She commended the state government for making its promises a reality even as she said that many of the farmers had thought it was the usual unfulfilled political promise until they saw the construction equipment on the road.
In his remarks, the Onitaji of Itaji, Oba Adamo Babalola who witnessed the payment of compensation to a farmer at Itaji-Imojo-Orisunmibare road commended RAAMP for the pace in the construction work; adding that the road had been cleared from the entry point to the end point.
He gave an assurance that the community would cooperate with the contractor in ensuring that the work is hassle-free.
Earlier, RAAMP’s Social Safeguard Specialist, Dr. Samuel Ayiti had addressed the benefiting community and explained the process that culminated in the payment of compensation.
Ayiti also allayed the fears of demolishing their houses before compensation, saying new houses would be provided as replacement for those, which would give way for road construction work.