Authorities in Bokkos Local Government Area of Plateau State say the recent road construction through crop farms between Mabel and Butura villages was fully discussed with the affected farmers beforehand.

Some farmers had reported losing huge investments in cash crops due to a sponsored road construction last weekend.

The contractor identified as Sergeant Danjuma Jamok was alleged to have created a diversion while grading an old road, cutting into crop farms without the consent of the concerned farmers.

One of the farmers told MKB that the construction was done last week Sunday when the villagers were attending Church service.

"We only returned from Church to see our farms in ruins," the farmer said.

The contractor, Sgt. Jamok however said he had met with all the affected farmers two weeks before the work was done.

A community leader in Kulyas village near Mabel, where the road was constructed, Mai Angwa Mallan Amalam said he personally summoned a meeting of all farmers along the designated road and discussed with them on Sunday 10th June, 2018.

According to him, "After the contractor mapped out the diversion, we told the farmers to write their names and the extent to which the work affects them for onward delivery to the village Head and they did."

A stakeholder in the community and former Councillor of Butura Ward, Hon. Josiah Mahwash said most of those protesting against the construction are "children" who were not part of the meeting held with the farm owners.

A heavy duty machine during the road construction that destroyed crop farms: Credit: Mark Mahwash

One of the farm owners, an elderly man who preferred anonymity however said the resolutions reached at the meeting did not involve cutting into people's farms.

"We were made to believe that the old road was only going to be expanded, stretching into nearby farms by an inch or two," he said.

The Secretary of Bokkos Local Government, Hon. Sylvanus Ayuba was however of the view that the farmers should not allow themselves to be used to cause friction for the work especially as the road would be of benefit to them in transporting their farm produce.

The Village Head of Butura, Engr. John Mallo had also confirmed being in the picture of the agreement reached with the farmers before the construction commenced.

It was however not sure whether any written agreements were
entered into.

It is however believed that the road is meant to link the Plateau State fertilizer blending plant operated by BEJAFTA Group Nigeria Limited, to which the village Chief is Chairman, and Butura Gida village, the traditional base of the Butura traditional institution.