Following the recent controversy over the Jos Main Market MOU with Jaiz Bank, the Christain Association of Nigeria CAN, Plateau State Chapter Chairman, Rev Fr Polycarp Lubo, has said that it was not reasonable to mortgage the lives and properties of Plateau citizens for 40years.
Rev Fr Polycarp Lubo said this while speaking to Journalist in Jos shortly after a meeting held between major stakeholders and the Plateau State Government in which it advised the Government to put the deal on hold until proper consultations are done.
He said it was the decision of the stakeholders, including the Christain Association of Nigeria, the coalition of indigenous Leaders of the tribes of Plateau State, and the Youths that further delibrations and consultations be made to gain further clarity rather than jump into a forty years MOU for the rebuilding of the Jos Main market.
The CAN chairman who convened the stakeholders and Government consultation stated that the Government should listen to the fears and concerns on the citizens in the state so as to get a balance of the realities leading to the proposed rebuilding of the Jos Main Market.
“The resolution of all the persons convened at the meeting is that the deal should be put on hold but the Government has not responded yet but has promised to look into it and if they find any issue they will call our attention and also get back to us” Rev Fr Lubo further stated.
The Plateau State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Chrisantus Ahmadu, while speaking, said that a lot of the positions taken by the general public were due to misinformation, that the Plateau state Government was ceding the market to Jaiz Bank for 40years which was not true.
“The agreement is that it is the allottees, that is the persons who will buy the shops that will be granted a 40years sub-lease by the Jos Main Market Authority and at the end of 40years the property then reverts back to Jos Main Market Authority”
“It is not Jaiz bank that will be giving forthy years lease it is the buyers that will have an interest. If Government is giving you a Certificate of Occupancy, it gives it for 99years, but for commercial properties, its between 30 to 50 years. So we negotiated with Jaiz bank that the allottees will have 40years so that they will be able to recoup the money that they have invested in buying the shops.”
“We have not yet concluded but we have reached some sort of agreement as to how we want the MOU to be carried out as a partnership as such the government is not ceding the property to anyone.” He said
Ahmadu said that the advice of suspension of the deal by stakeholders was due to the lack of proper information and the early leakage of the deal on social media which was concocted by misinformation, however, the government was doing its bid to properly address citizens to understand it better.
He said the project was critical in getting government finances as allocations were behind with backlogs of salaries so that is why the Government is keen on getting the market back to business.
The Managing Director/ CEO of the Plateau Investment and Property Development Company (PIPC) Limited, Mr. Chrysogonus Yilzak, said that the MOU is yet to be signed as discussions are still on to fine-tune the agreement.
He said it was okay for the citizens to express fears that in all light were genuine with concerns that needs to be addressed.
“Whatever is being done we have to ensure that it is the Plateau people that benefit so that at the end of the day it will be a win-win for all.” Mr. Yilzak said.
Recall that Controversy has trailed the proposed rebuilding of the burnt popular Jos ultra-modern Main Market following the state government’s discussion with Jaiz Bank.
The market, which was a major economic hub and significant contributor to the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state, was burnt down in 2001.
However, soon after Governor Simon Lalong’s government entered into discussion with the Jaiz Bank, accusations were leveled against the state government from different quarters in the state, alleging that the government was ceding the market to an Islamic bank.