Business mogul, Alhaji Aliko Dangote’s plan to establish a sugar plantation and a factory in Kebbi State may have hit the rock, as indigenous land owners, who are mostly farmers, have refused to release their farm land.
Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu said this at an interactive session with intellectuals of Kebbi State origin working at Usman Danfodiyo University, Sokoto. The session was held at the university’s auditorium. Also in attendance were members of the Kebbi State Students’ Union, UDUS chapter.
Governor Bagudu said that even at the offer of compensation, the farmers tenaciously held on to their land, saying that Dangote’s investment will not serve their interest.
He said, “Dangote Industries’ application for 54,000 hectares of land to establish a sugar factory pre-dated my administration, but they could only identify about 24,000 hectares suitable for sugar cane cultivation.
“When we came on board, there was pressure on us because all of those 24,000 hectares belong to farmers. And the proposal we met on ground was that those farmers would be paid compensation of about a hundred thousand naira per hectare.”
He said further, “As a government, the whole cabinet looked at the proposal. Our concern is, you are going to pay a farmer hectare of land where he produces his crops. You will be making an income of 700,000 a year where he has been making 100,000 and make him a labourer forever. How as a social policy can you justify this opportunity cost?
“What is the net contribution in output that this investment is going to bring, for instance, if you are replacing your current production of rice by the production of sugar cane?
“Let there be no mistakes about it, we welcome investors and we thank Dangote Industries for identifying Kebbi as one of those states he wants to invest in. But above all, the most important thing is the need to ensure that investments serve and benefit our people.
“We hope to convince Dangote that there are other ways this can be done to have better security for his investment, like agreeing that our farmers become his out-growers and he buys from them for production in his factory.”
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