The federal government on Wednesday attributed threats to the life of workers as the major reason why the ongoing construction of the Lafia-Makurdi road dualisation was suspended.
Minister of Works, Raji Fashola, explained during stakeholders meeting in Makurdi that the Benue section of the road dualisation was met with swift opposition from the locals in the Guma Local Government Area axis followed by threats to “diabolically deal” with the construction workers.
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Fashola, who spoke through the ministry’s director of works, Ishak Mohammed, disclosed that the locals in the Guma had threatened to invoke ancestral powers, which would manifest in form of snakes to kill the workers because the government hadn’t paid them any compensation for the land, crops and shrines destroyed in the course of construction work.
He also said the threat handed to the workers forced them to abandon that section of the road, which formed part of the federal government’s effort at dualising the Keffi-Akwanga-Lafia-Makurdi road.
The Minister added that he had held meetings with Governor Samuel Ortom, the Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, George Akume and Senator Gabriel Suswam during which some grey areas were resolved.
He further disclosed that the ministry had already carried out an assessment of crops and structures and valued it with a committee set up and money released for compensation to beneficiaries expected to get their payment as from next week.
Governor Ortom, however, expressed shock over the threats to construction workers’ lives.
He warned that the law against kidnapping in Benue state was still in force and will catch up with anyone behind the act.
The governor told the paramount ruler of the area, the Tor Lobi, Chief Moses Anageende, not to abdicate his duties but report any of his subjects to him for quick action.
He, therefore, directed the company to resume work as adequate security has been provided at the affected communities.
But Chief Anageende blamed some miscreants outside the community for the threats.