Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has threatened that henceforth the Federal Government might be forced to re-allocate projects elsewhere if any state government or communities create unnecessary impediments in the allocation of land or access to such lands for federal projects.
This is even as he has expressed regrets that the refusal to allocate lands for federal projects or the growing hostility by communities against contractors on site were hurting the interests of the very people governments were elected to serve.
The warning was contained in a statement released on Saturday and signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.
According to President Buhari, “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.”
The president in a recent directive, had requested ministers in his government to have the states clear all lingering land issues threatening federal projects under their supervision or have such projects moved to willing states where that becomes impossible.
President Buhari regretted that some communities in the states were frustrating the siting of federal projects in their areas by making impossible demands for land compensation on contractors and even chasing them away from site where they are unable to meet up.
He noted: “To compound matters, contractors kept away from site often make further demands for payment whenever they return to site.”
The president stressed that “by denying the 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.”
He added 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.”
He concluded that it is, therefore, impossible to spread Federal Government projects when petty demands or politics is allowed to override the higher interest of the people.”