History was made on Thursday, October 19th, 2023 as the Jiwa Community located on Airport Road Abuja officially handed over the land that the second runway and ancillary facilities of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport will be built, to the federal government.
The Emir of Jiwa, Alhaji Idris Musa handed over the land to Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN, the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development.
The Abuja airport’s second runway estimated to cost about N72bn is a 4.2km runway, which will be the longest in the world and will be constructed by the CCECC, a Chinese firm.
Top staff at CCECC told our correspondent it will deliver the job in 12 months as they are mobilising to the site immediately after the handover is done.
The FG has also instructed the CCECC to commence work ahead of the official groundbreaking ceremony by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, our correspondent leaned.
Speaking at the event, the Emir of Jiwa, Alhaji Idris Musa said even though the compensation on the land is a paltry sum, they have released the land based on overriding public interest. The FCT Administration (FCTA) is to pay N825.8 million as compensation to the communities.
The Emir told the federal government the community will need further interventions. This is even as he warned the CCECC against discriminating against his youths in employment, especially at the artisans and unskilled category levels.
“We have several challenges that have faced our communities,” the Chief said adding that his community has had extra patience on each government activity that has happened in his community.
“I know the pains of this project to our community” but because of the “overriding public interest”, we left it happen he noted.
“My farm is affected in spite of the fact that my farm is very big” the Emir further indicated.
He appealed to his subjects for more patience. “I’m sorry for what has happened to landowners in my community. If there was anything to be done, we would have done it” he pleaded for understanding.
He appealed to the National Assembly to look at the amount of compensation in the FCT for locals and increase it for sake of the future as the current reality has made the compensation policy crafted about three decades ago almost useless.
“The amount is too small. It’s not enough to fend for the family. The solution is for the National Assembly to increase the amount of compensation. We don’t have lands and we don’t have money” he lamented.
He however charged the CCECC on job opportunities for his subjects.
“Our people should be the first priority for unskilled labour” he said adding that if that doesn’t happen, they will raise objections.
He said the CCECC must employ his youths even as he craved the indulgence of the youths for patience.
The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Barr. Festus Keyamo in his keynote said the second runway is becoming a reality and it is historical because the project has been in the works for over two decades.
He appreciated the Jiwa community for understanding and cooperation on the project.
He said he recognised that the compensation was poor but he could not do otherwise because the law had already fixed it. He however promised further interventions in the community by way of community projects like roads, bridges, cottage hospitals,s and other projects commencing in 2024.
He also educated the community on the potential benefits the project would have on the community.
“The benefits of the second runway will be huge. There will be improved commercial and business activities around this area. You will gain double fold by the time this project gets started” he assured them.
He reiterated the Emir’s call for the employment of Jiwa youths.
To the contractors, you just heed the call of the Jiwa community.
He told the CCECC that if the community youths were not employed, he would personally lead the protest against the company.