By Amina Mohammed, Lafia
Residents of Shabu community of Lafia, Nasarawa State Capital have protested over the demolition of Seseme Processing Centre built by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The residents who spoke to newsmen in Lafia, called on Governor Abdullahi Sule to set up an investigative panel to unravel the mystery behind the demolition.
A traditional title holder (Makongijin Shabu) Al-Muhammad Ubabu, in the area, condemned the act, adding that, it has bring setback to the community and the state.
The traditional title holder however, lauded the federal government for bringing such a project to the community to help in value addition of the seseme produced in the state.
He said the project could have provided employment opportunity to youths, women and others thereby reducing crime and poverty.
He explained that when the project was demolished in March 2021, the traditional ruler of the area Mamud Bwala, reported the matter to the governor.
“The governor on receipt of the report of the demolition by Sangari Shabu immediately send a delegation who come and access the level of damage.
“Thereafter, the governor directed that the centre be reconstructed immediately, but after nine months, we are still waiting.
“The youths often times planned to revolt against the delay of the reconstruction, but the traditional ruler and other stakeholders always appeal to them to await government’s response,” he noted.
Similarly, President, Shabu Youths Movement, Mohammed Shaibu-Madaki, said it was really very sad for such a project capable of taken the youths off the street to be demolished.
He said that whenever they wanted to take any action, their leaders would appeal to them and assure that the government would rebuild the centre.
He said the traditional ruler assured them that the government promised to rebuild the centre, but wandered why nine months after nothing is being done.
He said they have shown maturity in handling the matter, but appealed to the state government to investigate the matter, punish those responsible and rebuild the centre for the overall development of the state.
Speaking, Nasarawa State Coordinator of Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Ikechukwu Otomata, confirmed this to newsmen.
He said the federal government through the ministry has decided to assist sesame farmers toward value addition before marketing given their recent ratting as first in the production of the product in Nigeria.
He explained that they received a distress call that Nasarawa State Urban Development Board (NUDB) demolished the project just a day after it was handed over to them by the contractor.
“The contractor completed his work and received a certificate of completion on March 3, 2021, and the project was demolished on March 4.
“It was completed and equipped with state of the act processing facilities including electricity generating set to ensure adequate power supply.
“The facilities are still in the demolished structure, but when we wanted to move them to our office in Lafia, the traditional ruler assured us that the community would protect them,” he added.
He, therefore, said that the ministry was planning to hand over the project to the state government before it was demolished by NUDB.
When contacted, the Managing Director (MD) of NUDB, Mr.
Yahaya Wada, said the center was demolished for failure to get necessary approvals before commencing the project.
Wada however, explained that the center was demolished in March before he was appointed in June.
He further said that based on the briefs he received, the client failed to visit the board for necessary processes and approvals after they were served three different notices.
“The law that established the board clearly stated that before the clearing of the site for any developmental, we must approve,” Wada added.
Lafia residents protests over demolition of FG Seseme Processing Centre.