From Rashidat AbdulRahman, Minna
In line with the planned construction of the 82km Minna-Bida road and the need to compensate those who would be affected by the work, Niger State Governor, Rt. Hon. Mohammed Umaru Bago, has taken a decisive step by approving the setting up of a claims verification and payment committee.
In a statement issued on Sunday by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Abubakar Usman, said the reconstruction of the Minna-Bida road is being co-financed by the Islamic Development Bank, Abu Dhabi Fund for Development and Niger State Government.
Alhaji Usman further revealed that members of the committee were drawn from the state government, security agencies, and other relevant stakeholders, adding that the committee has six (6) weeks timeline to complete its assignment with utmost diligence.
He explained that the committee’s primary mandate is to identify each claimant and gather crucial information, including the land coordinates of the affected property and each claimant’s Bank Verification Number (BVN).
The SSG said the data would enhance the process of integrity and transparency, thereby preventing potential issues of claims and counter-claims by the claimants, which could be setback for start-up or progress of the project.
Alhaji Usman further stated that the State Government has already set aside funding to compensate all affected persons, adding that payments will be made simultaneously with the verification process, paving the way for commencement of civil works and ground breaking in November 2023, in accordance with the current project work plan.
The statement added that the committee would facilitate direct real-time online payments to the claimants, eliminating the need for contact with Government officials.
He emphasised on the importance of claimants’ presence at their respective property locations during the exercise and implored the affected parties to cooperate fully with the committee to ensure a smooth and efficient process.
The SSG charged members of the committee to uphold fairness and equity throughout the exercise, emphasizing immediate payment of verified claimants after the process. He stressed that timelines for verifying each location would be communicated through the Village Heads and the claimant’s Attorneys.