By Joy Odor
Nasarawa State government and Gurku/Kabusu communities, in Karu Local Government Area, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU), for the development of the Gurku/Kabusu Mega City, earlier conceived in 2015.
The agreement signing ceremony, took place at the Nasarawa Governor’s Lodge in Asokoro, Abuja, on Monday.
This followed a determined effort by the Engineer Abdullahi Sule administration, to resolve legal disputes that stalled the project, earlier started by the immediate past government, with the host communities taking the matter before the courts.
The signing of the MoU between the parties, signals a milestone, with the Gurku/Kabusu communities, deciding to withdraw pending court cases and to accept to partner with the government to continue with the project, which will bring development to the area.
Speaking shortly after signing of the agreement, Nasarawa State governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, said the event, is in line with the urbanisation and housing policies of his administration, as contained in the Nasarawa Economic Development Strategy (NEDS).
According to the governor, Nasarawa’s proximity to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), has opened up a lot of opportunities for the state, comparing the Gurku/Kabusu mega city project, to places like Naveda and New Jersey in the United States.
While appreciating his predecessor, Senator Umaru Tanko Al-makura, for coceiving the idea of the Gurku/Kabusu mega city, Engineer Sule said his administration will take the project to the next level.
“For even thinking about it, for the idea, that we can build a smart city, we must give credit to the administration of Tanko Al-makura,” he stated.
The governor explained that, unlike in the past, when government could afford to forcefully takeover land from the people, the world now has moved on, and government must seek to partner with landowners.
“In the past when government takes over land, the people go under. But today, when government forcefully takeover, the people go to court,” he explained.
Engineer Sule noted that, he took the decision to pacify the host communities, because he strongly believes that, if Nasarawa State is to be developed, that development, must start from Karu Local Government Area.
The governor assured that, his administration is embarking on the project with all sincerity, with no intention of stumping on anybody’s right.
“It’s not about what you will get today. I am not interested in even a plot of land in the entire area, I don’t want it, I am not going to look for it. The idea is to leave a legacy that in the next 20, 30 years, people will remember,” he stated.
Engineer Sule appreciated the legal representatives of the host communities, for accepting to cooperate with government, as well as traditional rulers from the area, for their role in the negotiations leading to the signing of the agreement.
Earlier, member Federal House of Representatives, Hon. Jonathan Gbefwi Gaza, who spoke on behalf of the host communities, thank the Nasarawa State government, for working hard to resolve the lingering impasse, leading to the withdrawal of pending court cases instituted by the communities.
Rep Gaza commended the approach taken by the government, giving it an unprecedented humanitarian aspect, especially with regards to the model of partnership and vision between the landowners and government.
According to the lawmaker, the only place where he saw such equitable distribution of resources, was in Naveda, USA, with the state government agreeing to taking only 30 percent, while the indigenous people take 70 percent.
“You have shown yourself as a person indeed, has a heart for the people,” he said.
Also speaking, Director General, Nasarawa Geographic Information Services (NAGIS), Mr Sonny Agassi, recounted that the Gurku/Kabusu mega city, was conceived in 2015, on an approximately 13000 hectares of land.
The planned mega city, according to Agassi, which is only about 2.5km away from the FCT, is intended to be one of the most sustainable, liveable and culturally sensitive cities in the world.
The Gurku/Kabusu city has been parcelled into 29 districts, with the idea of creating a city outside Abuja, because the FCT is already choked up.
Agassi however disclosed that, the project ran into some legal challenges in 2016, with two court cases instituted by the host communities.
The DG NAGIS explained that, through dialogue, the issues were finally resolved, with the host communities agreeing to withdraw the cases before the courts, leading to the signing of the agreement.
On his part, the Etsu Karu, HRH Pharmacist Luka Panya Baba, assured the government of total support from the community, for the success of the project.