Land Swap: CITAD calls for suspension of initiative, consultation of FCT citizens

By Chimezie Godfrey

Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) has advised government suspend resumption of land swap initiative until it has carried out consultations among citizens of FCT.

This was disclosed in a statement signed Sponsorship Officer CITAD, Abuja Office, Mubarak Ekute and made available Newsdiaryonline.

Recall that yesterday, Federal Executive Council end of its meeting announced that it was resuming Land Swap Initiative that was earlier suspended government.

The objective of the initiative according government is address infrastructure gaps in the FCT by providing land investors who in return finance infrastructure rollout.

Ekute noted that CITAD has over the last two years engaged rural communities of the FCT who are extremely concerned about the phenomenon of land grabbing that is taking place in their communities.

He lamented that many have lost their land which as farmers, is their means of livelihood.  Land grabbing is a major threat to food security not in FCT but all over the country.

He said,”While CITAD is happy to see infrastructure deficit being addressed in the FCT rural communities, it would like to draw the attention of the concerned authorities to the following with respect to the land swap initiative:

“The FCT rural communities who are land owners and therefore likely to be dispossessed initiative were not consulted before the decision to resume the initiative was taken.

“Government has not made public its findings of investigation of the operation of the Land Swap as it suspected that it was riddled with corruptionGovernment has not explain how in the current phase, corruption would be put bay and how the interests of rural communities would be taken into account in the new phase of the initiative.

“Government has not address any complaints of land grabbing and land misappropriation and dispossession that occurred in the earlier phase for which FCT rural communities have been the major victims.

“FCT rural communities did not in terms of infrastructure development in the earlier phase, this has led many of the communities hard to reach due to the lack of roads; there is no drinking water; rural schools are scandalous sites and healthcare facilities do not exist.

“In conclusion, would like to advise the government to further suspend the resumption of the land swap initiative until:It has carry out consultations among the citizens of the FCT, particularly rural dwellers.”

Ekute further urged the government to come up with concrete plan for addressing rural infrastructure within the FCT urban area.

“Come up with concrete and realistic plan for addressing rural infrastructure, not just infrastructure with the FCT urban area, Made public report of its investigation of the abuses of the initiative in the first phase, leading to its suspension, Propose , adequate and realistic measures to stop and mitigate the problems of land grabbing in the FCT rural communities,” Ekute stressed.