Farmers in Kangirke community in Birnin Kudu Local Government Area of Jigawa State have alleged injustice in compensating their seized farmlands meant for the expansion of the Federal Medical Centre in Birnin Kudu.
In a press conference in Bauchi, the farmers expressed their dissatisfaction with the compensation process in which they alleged discrepancies.
They alleged shortchange in the compensation as each farmer was paid N3,000 to a maximum of N7,000.
Their leader, Malam Aliyu Abdullahi Kangire, told newsmen that the seized farmlands from their grandparents were taken from them after they were summoned by the District Head and told that the land would be used for the expansion of Federal Government Hospital Birnin Kudu.
He said, “There are more than 500 large farms belonging to different people, and we were told to go and measure the size of each farm for compensation. When we were told this, we said that’s it, since it is clear that the government will do a project that will benefit the community, it can be taken; but we want the authorities to compensate us.
“After a long time, one day we were summoned again at the District Head palace where we were told that they will pay compensation for the farmlands and the cultivated crops.
“But due to insecurity, they would not give us cash rather we’d be given cheques. Out of the money, we would give something to the traditional ruler to secure us other farmlands.
“They took pictures of every farmer as he collected the cheque. We were also given a bottle of water and a soft drink each.
“Most of the farmers refused to collect the cheques. Our leaders pacified us to collect the cheques, otherwise we would lose both the farmlands and the meager compensation as the project must be done,” he said.
He further alleged that when they approached a state-owned radio station to air their grievances, the journalist who hosted them was later transferred to Kano.
Abdullahi said heavily armed security men accompanied the men who cleared the farmlands hence they were prevented from accessing the site.
He, however, called out on the concerned authorities to come to their rescue as their lives solely depend on farming, “We are calling with a loud voice to the Federal Government of Nigeria, the ministry of health and the governor of Jigawa State to come and help us so that we can get justice and to shield us from harassment from our traditional rulers and local government officials.”