The Ekiti State government on Monday paid financial compensation to some landowners whose lands were acquired recently for the establishment of the Ekiti Knowledge Zone. At the brief ceremony of presentation of Cheques to the affected beneficiaries, the state governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi said a total 955 hectares of land was acquired for the zone adding that Monday’s compensation, which was the first tranche, was for the five hectares to be used for the UBEC Model School.
The governor, who was represented by the Chief of Staff, Mr Biodun Omoleye noted that he was fulfilling the promise he made during a consultative meeting he held with representatives of the landowners from the area.
Dr Fayemi explained that the ‘Pay as You Acquire’ model was adopted so that payments can be done in phases as utilization arises. He also highlighted the uniqueness of the “Pay as you use“ model to include removal of the usual bottlenecks, inefficiency, and unnecessary delay associated with the payment of compensation to landowners, as well as enhancing prudent management of government resources. The governor disclosed that contractors who would handle the model school have been mobilized to site, adding that the work would be completed in record time.
He said further, “You will recall that on Wednesday, February 19, 2020, I held a consultative meeting with the representatives of landowners of Ekiti Knowledge Zone from Ijan Ekiti. I gave my word then that they will be adequately and fairly compensated for their produce on land acquired for Ekiti Knowledge Zone in strict compliance with the Land Use Act.
“We are here today to strengthen the bond and put smiles on the faces of our farmers whose crops and other farm produce were affected by the model school project development. We are practicing what we preach by putting our words into action. Indeed, we are walking the talk!
“The Ekiti Knowledge Zone project is on course. For the model school, contractors have been mobilised and work has commenced at the site. I assure you all that this project like every other project will receive adequate attention and will be completed on schedule. Despite the global economic realities, we are on the move and the Ekiti state of our dream is in focus. With your support and cooperation, we are going to achieve the desired dreams for our dear state.
“I must commend the management of the Ekiti Knowledge Zone for the “Pay as You Use” model of compensation that was proposed and adopted for the EKZ project, which avails us the opportunity and privilege of compensating the owners of the 5 hectares being used for the model school now.
“The uniqueness of the “pay as you use” model of compensation is two-fold. The usual bottlenecks, inefficiency, and unnecessary delay associated with the payment of compensation to farm owners have been erased completely. The model will also enhance the prudent management of government resources. Instead of using billions of naira that may not come handy at the immediate to pay compensation for 1,000 hectares of land which may not be completely utilised in years, it is novel and sensible to acquire and pay for what you need at the immediate.
“This implies that compensation for the acquired 955 hectares of land for Ekiti knowledge zone will be done in phases as utilisation arises. As a government that wants both urban and rural development, we are proud to toe this line and we determined to sustain this developmental drive.”
While congratulating those who received the first tranche of compensation, Dr Fayemi urged the beneficiaries to utilise the fund judiciously and purposefully.
A total of ten beneficiaries received various sum of money from the government.