Residents of the Shabu community in Nasarawa State’s Lafia Local Government Area have expressed disappointment with the state government’s decision to demolish a sesame processing center established by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The Makongijin of Shabu, Al-Muhammad Ubabu, a high traditional title holder in the area, condemned the crime in an interview with our correspondent in Lafia on Sunday. According to Ububa, the structure’s demolition was a big setback for the community and the state.
He said, “The act of the demolition is condemnable. The sesame processing centre could have provided employment opportunities for residents of the state which would have helped in reducing crime and poverty.
“The project was demolished in March this year. The traditional ruler, Mamud Bwala, who is the Sangari Shabu, immediately reported the matter to the Governor, and on receipt of the information, the governor sent a delegation who came to access the level of damage.
“After the assessment, he directed that the centre should be reconstructed but after nine months, we are still waiting. The youths often times planned to revolt against the delay of the reconstruction, but the traditional ruler and other stakeholders always appealed to them to await the state government’s response”.
Meanwhile, Mohammed Shaibu-Madaki, the President of the Shabu Youths Movement, has stated that the youths will not remain peaceful for long since continued neglect of the sesame processing center will result in a large protest by neighborhood youths.
He said, “We have shown maturity in handling the matter. The traditional ruler assured us that the government promised to rebuild the centre, but we don’t know why nothing has happened after nine months”.
In response to their concerns, Ikechukwu Otomata, Nasarawa State Coordinator of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the factory was built by the federal government through the ministry to assist sesame farmers in the state, which was recently ranked first in Nigeria for sesame production.
He said, “We received a distress call on 4th of March this year, that the Nasarawa State Urban Development Board demolished the project just a day after it was handed over to us by the contractor.
“The project was completed and equipped with state-of-the-art processing facilities, including electricity generating set to ensure adequate power supply. The facilities are still in the demolished structure because the traditional ruler assured us that the community would protect them.
“The ministry was planning to hand over the project to the state government before it was demolished by the NUDB.
In reaction, The Managing Director of the Nasarawa State Urban Development Board, Yahaya Wada, said the centre was demolished for failure to get necessary approvals before commencing the project.
He said, “The centre was demolished in March before, and I was appointed in June but based on the briefs I received, the client failed to visit the board for necessary processes and approvals after they were served three different notices”.