Residents of Shabu community in Lafia Local Government Area of Nasarawa State have expressed worry over the demolition of the Federal Government’s Sesame Seed Processing Centre by the state government.
The plant, established under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, is said to have been demolished following land approval disagreement between the government tiers.
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The Managing Director of Nasarawa State Urban Development Board, Alhaji Yahaya Mohammed Wada, told Aso Chronicle that his agency participated in the demolition.
He claimed that the federal government did not get approval from the board before embarking on the project.
However, the State Coordinator, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in Nasarawa, Dr Ikechukwu Ofomata, said the plant was demolished a day after handing over to the ministry by the contractor in March 2021.
He said the plant, which was worth N200 million, with a capacity to employ over 1,000 personnel, was never marked for demolition by any authority from beginning to completion of the project.
He said the processing factory was established in the area as part of the federal government’s drive towards value chain addition to locally produced crops and rural development, in view of the large quantity of Sesame seed production in the state.
He expressed concern over the safety of the equipment, noting that since the plant was demolished, no effort had been made by the state government to build another.
“I received a distress call early in the morning on 4th March 2021 that the Sesame Seed Processing Centre has been demolished by Nasarawa State Urban Development Board in the night after the ministry had issued a certificate of job satisfaction to the contractor in March 2021,” he said.
Speaking on the issue, Makongijin Shabu, Al-Muhammad Ubabu, said the demolition was a major setback to the community and the state.
According to the prominent traditional title holder, the community is yet to come to terms with the reality behind the demolition of the Sesame Seed Processing Factory that would have enormous benefits to them and the state in general.
On his part, the president, Shabu Youth Movement, Mohammed Shuaibu Madaki, expressed displeasure with the delay in taking action to rebuild the plant since the visit by some state government officials led by the Secretary to the Nasarawa State Government to the project site.
Muhammed Shuaibu said: “We wanted to raise agitations and protest but the emir and some state government officials led by the Secretary to Nasarawa State Government who were at the site calmed us down.”
“The SSG in his words said this is a fight between government and government so we should leave it to them to sort it out. Since then, no effort has been made to rebuild the plant.
“I know the importance of a sesame seed factory in creating job opportunities. They can calm us down but we will not remain silent forever,” he added.