INFOMEDIAÂ â€“ The Centre for Information Technology and Development, CITAD, has faulted the FGâ€™s plan to resume land swap initiative.The dissatisfaction was contained in a press statement signed by Mubarak Ekute for the organization. The statement reads in part, â€œThe Federal Executive Council at the end of its meeting announced that it was resuming the Land Swap Initiative that was earlier suspended by the government.
The objective of the initiative according to government is to address infrastructure gaps in the FCT by providing land to investors who in return will finance infrastructure rollout.â€ â€œCITAD 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. Many have lost their land which as farmers, is their only means of livelihood.
TheÂ Land grabbing is a major threat to food security not only in FCT but all over the country.â€ The organization noted that it is happy to see infrastructure deficit addressed in the Federal Capital Territory but aired concerns on the land swap initiative.
While CITAD is happy to see infrastructure deficit is 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: â€œThe FCT rural communities who are land owners and therefore likely to be dispossessed by the initiative were not consulted before the decision to resume the initiative was taken. â€œGovernment has not made public its findings of investigation of the operation of the Land Swap as it suspected that it was riddled with corruption.
â€œGovernment has not explain how in the current phase, corruption would be put at bay and how the interests of rural communities would be taken into account in the new phase of the initiative.
â€œGovernment 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.
â€œFCT rural communities did not benefit 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.â€
The centre advised the government to suspend the land swap so as to allow for consultations particularly rural dwellers and come up with a plan for assessing rural infrastructures.