Nyesom Wike, the minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), has resolved the lingering dispute over the establishment of a second runway for the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) had in March 2022 approved the second runway, with the project broken into four components. However, part of the Jiwa Community which hosts the runway, protested their eviction from their ancestral land, demanding compensation from the government.
At a troubleshooting parley with members of the community and other stakeholders on Tuesday, Wike, while noting their pain, directed the immediate payment of N825m in compensation to the affected land owners to enable them relocate. After which, Wike said the runway construction will begin immediately
“The FCT through the Federal Capital Development Authority FCDA will release the money approved for compensation and settlement of those who are there. The total value is N825.82 million for the compensation and resettlement. As part of the incentives to the community, 12 immediate employment from the ministry of aviation and its agencies as the case may be, and 10 from the Federal Capital Territory Administration for the Jiwa community” he said.
The minister also announced plans to construct Tunga Madaki Bridge to be included in the 2024 budget, with a 5km road; and to provide a modern healthcare facility for the community.
“The permanent secretaries from the ministry of aviation and that of the FCTA, (the Sarkin Jiwa), AMAC chairman, and the commissioner, the Public Complaints Commission (FCT), will sign the agreement reached between the government and Jiwa Community. Once that’s done and the money gets to them, the contractors would no longer delay; they would move to the site immediately and commence work. So, the second runway has come to stay,” Wike said.
“I know how you are feeling. I am from a community where the government has taken virtually all our land for development. So, if there is anything that should be done to make you happy, I will carry it on my head. But the truth remains that what is right is right and what is wrong is wrong. If the aviation ministry had concerned itself with the runway project alone, we wouldn’t have found ourselves here, but they came to usurp the job of the FCTA”, he added.
Idris Musa, the traditional ruler of the area, had lamented the frustration of his people over the compensation issue.
Earlier, Festus Keyamo, the minister of aviation and aerospace development, said the timeline to commission the second runway was in June or July 2023, but the government has not even mobilised to the site yet.