May 30, 2008

Community Bitter With NIPSS Kuru

The vision of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, (NIPSS) in Kuru, Vom is “to be the apex centre of policy, research and reflection for a better Nigerian and human society”. If however the allegation of its host community, Kuru, is true then that vision statement simply confirms the reality of the statement that “action speaks louder than words”.
According to Da Pwajok Dangal, the village head of the immediate host community of NIPSS, the presence of the institute in his domain is more of a curse than the blessing they thought it was going to be. The sins of
NIPS S against his community constitute a grave betrayal of the trust the community had for the institute. First, no single subject of his has received compensation for any of the more than 270 plots of land on which the institute stands. To add insult to injury, the institute is a brazen violator of the government practice of conceding positions in the lower cadre to the host community. More than 90% of the positions at that level are dominated by people outside of the host community. The situation is the same when it comes to casual menial jobs.
Da Dangal became the Village I-lead of the very community in 1974 following the demise of his father in 1973. It means he oversaw the acquisition of the land on behalf of his community. Since NIPSS was founded in 1979, it is therefore his responsibility to keep pursuing the case, but he is not even treated with esteem when seen in the premises of the institute. For him the issue has thus become too low to get under and too high to get over as his subjects are now looking at him with suspicion.
The situation of he Kuru community as a whole is that of a victim of robbery and cheating or that it is a reflection of the underlying intentions of government agencies whenever there is an issue of land between government and the people.
In addition to the land hosting NIPSS, the land on which the Police Staff College and the Federal School of Soil Conservation (all founded in 1974) were built, have all not been paid for. Government institutions are not the ends in themselves. They are means to an end. This ends, like the vision statement of NIPSS states, is creating a better Nigerian and human society. The scenarios in Kuru, however are not just a reflection of the non-challance of the institutions to the difficulties of the people but a conscious, albeit a covert intention of impoverishing the people and its unborn generations: No land to cultivate and no money to by food. The future direction thus points to that of eternal underdevelopment and misery.
NIPSS is a by-pass for the most powerful people in the country. The immediate past and pioneer Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, is presently attending the regular course of the institution. This underscores the significance and prestige of the institution; leaders of the country do pay a visit to course participants. The vice President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan attended the inauguration of the present course participants. The refusal of the institution to pay compensation for the land is indirectly an insult to all Members of the National Institute (Mni) and the nation at large.
When confronted, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of NIPSS, Mrs. Mariam Amodu rather than paint a transparent photo of events, chose to refer the News Tower to a publication of the Punch Newspaper that implied the institute is not owing the community a dime and she was not ready to say anything other than “we are not owing them anything”. Since the issue is sensitive, it is expected that the institute will show evidence of compensation or an agreement in which the community agreed to give the land for free.

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