Makurdi  – The alleged diversion of a large chunk of the N5.7 billion meant for the compensation of beneficiaries following the dualisation of the Keffi-Lafia- Makurdi road is currently rocking the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing (FMWH).

Daily Independent gathered that even though the money which was meant for the payment of compensation was allegedly released in 2019, the FMWH only commenced payment this year, 2022.

While some of the beneficiaries were not captured for the payment of the compensation, most of those that were captured were allegedly shortchanged, as they are expected to receive far below what was actually agreed for them through their attorneys.

Daily Independent also learnt that as a result, the FMWH has decided to sideline the consortium of 19 corporate bodies who are the attorneys to the communities and persons affected by the dualisation project.

There are indications that the incident may lead to multiple litigations against the ministry by the beneficiaries of the compensation as well as the consortium which is led by Haruna Yakubu Auta of Haruna and Associates Consultants.

 Some of the beneficiaries, who confided in Daily Independent, alleged that the team saddled with the responsibility of carrying out the payments had compelled the beneficiaries to sign papers without making actual payments, stating that they have to take the papers to Abuja before effecting payment.

One of the beneficiaries said, “Many people were not paid, and we brought that out in our meeting and we have decided to go to court.

 “We were being given papers to sign that we have been paid so and so (amount as compensation), even though we are yet to be paid. “And we are on the verge of getting a court injunction to stop payments”.

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Also confirming the disagreement, the President General, Nyiev Development Association, Augustine Agber Ikon, said plans were on to get a court injunction to stop the process embarked upon by the ministry.

A competent source at the FMWH office in Makurdi, who would not want his name in print, said, “The committee that is saddled with the responsibility of compensation was constituted from Abuja by the honourable minister.

The committee only uses the federal secretariat, Makurdi, to pay the beneficiaries.

“They are carrying out the payment in batches and before they do the payment, the beneficiaries will bring their passports and ensure that all the documents are intact so they don’t pay to the wrong persons and the moment they clear from Abuja, they will come down and pay.

“For those that they have not paid yet, it’s either there is a problem, whether the information supplied is contrary to what they have in their own records; but it’s a continuous exercise.”

When we made efforts to speak with Mr. Oprite Iyalla, the team leader saddled with the responsibility of making the payments, said he was not competent to speak on the matter.


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