BY AMEH IDUJAGI, JALINGO – Scramble over land ownership on the Mambilla Plateau may constitute a major threat to the smooth take-off of the 3050 MW multi-billion dollar Mambilla Hydro Project.
Investigation by Forefront News revealed that various individuals and some interests are battling to acquire parcels of land especially in areas across the River Donga which is to house part of the project.
According to dependable sources, some prominent personalities from the state are believed to have secured certificate of occupancy for large portions of land without the consent of the original owners of the land in the areas where the project is expected to be sited, with a view to grabbing compensation to themselves.
It was further gathered that the natives who are mainly farmers and herders domiciled in areas such as Barup, Tep, Mbamnga, Kwarakwara, Yambam, Hainare, Warwar, Vakkude, among others have vowed not to relinquish their land without adequate compensation.
Speaking to our correspondent in Gembu, headquarters of Sardauna Local Government on Wednesday, Mr. Albert Dominic said several people have, in recent weeks, been trooping to Barup, War, Mbu, Tamviya and Tep areas to purchase land.
Speaking in similar vein, Umaru Jalike from Hainare, expressed concern over the illegal occupation of a disputed land belonging to Ardo Hassan Family in Mayomodowa, all in anticipation of getting compensation from Federal Ministry of Power.
Both Dominic and Umaru expressed fear that if the trend of indiscriminate purchase of land on the Mambilla Plateau is not checked, it may raise serious concerns for the implementation of the proposed Mambilla Hydroelectric Dam.
When contacted, the Chairman of Sardauna Local Government Area, Mr. Oliver Wubon advised land owners in the area to desist from selling their land to speculators.
Wubon said the Federal Ministry of Power will follow due process in the demarcation, assessment and compensation of lands that would be affected and therefore warned land owners to be cautious of land speculators with dubious intention.