Southern Kaduna community petitions El-Rufai over illegal acquisition of land for solar project
• Says it is harmful to health
The people of Kaura and Zangon-Kataf local councils of Kaduna State have petitioned Governor Nasir el-Rufai over the illegal allocation of their land for the establishment of a solar farm. They say the facility poses great danger to the health and economy of the people in the area.
A protest letter to the governor dated November 17, 2017 and signed by the leaders of the community landowners, the people said: “The landowners of the defunct Manchok Ranch were not aware that the Kaduna State Government had seized their lands and allocated them to private companies until they saw a letter with Ref. No. KLG/ADM/WKS/141/I dated February 24, 2016 written by the Sole Administrator of Kaura Local Council asking communities that had any complaints about the allocation of the land to Quaint Global Energy Nigeria Limited to forward such complaints to the office of the Local Council Chairman.”
The Kaura (Watyap) Community Development Association was said to have written a protest letter to the Sole Administrator, Kaura Local Council, stating that the land belonged to their people and not Manchok, and that they had no knowledge of the takeover of their lands, nor were they aware of any research by Quaint Global Energy for the purpose of producing an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment
The community leaders said that while “the Watyap landowners asked the government to put on hold the project until issues pertaining to the ownership of the land had been resolved, there has been no response from the government over the petition by the landowners.”
They said: “We wish to refer to the meeting of stakeholders of the defunct Manchok Cattle Ranch held at the Council Chamber, Government House, Kaduna, on Tuesday, November 14, 2017. At the end of the meeting, the Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, who chaired the meeting, asked the Chairman, Kaura Local Council to convene a meeting of stakeholders to decide whether the communities wanted the project or not, and report to the government.
“Having the mandate of the actual landowners to speak for them, and having already been directed by the owners of the land to convey their individual and collective positions over the taking over of their land, we wish to reiterate the position of the landowners as follows:
• “That the landowners do not accept the solar energy project by Access Quaint for the reasons stated above, which are, inter-alia, the land in question belongs to the families and individuals who have inherited it from their forefathers, and desire to continue owning and using that land by themselves for agricultural purposes, and the land in question is the best agricultural land available to the farmers and the community, and the owners do not accept that such prime agricultural land should be used for solar farming when there are available alternative land for such project as the case is all over the world.
• “Being farmers, and earning their livelihoods from the land, the landowners will lose their means of livelihood if the land were taken away from them contrary to best practices throughout the world.
• “Materials provided by Access Quaint to our communities, including pictorials on similar projects they have handled elsewhere, show that in all such projects, none are situated near or within human settlements. The project will be harmful to our communities, and cannot be accepted.”
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