…As Landowners Blame Local Chiefs For Illegal Land Transactions
Over the weekend, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) pulled down over 137 unlawful dormitories, motels, and other facilities in Iddo Sarki, a village near the University of Abuja main campus.
In accordance with a Ministerial directive to remove all contraventions and illegality from the nation’s capital, a combined team of the FCT Ministerial Committee on City Sanitation, the Department of Development Control, the Department of Security Services, and other relevant agencies carried out the exercise.
The FCT Minister was infuriated, according to Comrade Ikharo Attah, Chairman of the Ministerial Committee on City Sanitation, by people’s continuous disrespect for warnings to stay away from local Chiefs who have no authority to sell lands or transfer any valid title to buyers of such land, according to the provisions of the Land Use Act.
According to Attah, the exercise was a quick response to avoid further destabilizing the city’s growth plans and to save desperate businessmen and people from financial catastrophe.
He expressed regret that some persons continued to disregard timely warnings and enter into land deals with local chiefs without the approval of the relevant government.
He further added that if the unlawful hostel blocks and other development projects on the site had followed official procedures, the millions of Naira invested would have been correctly directed if the illegal hostel blocks and other development projects had followed official procedures.
He said that, the shortcut process undertaken by the investors had not only infringed heavily on extant laws, but distorted Abuja Master plan, while leading into collosal economic waste.
According to Attah , “FCT Minister has avowed commitment to espousing investment in the city, but would not tolerate illegalities and disobedience to the provisions of the Land Use Act.
” FCTA is pained about what is going on here. FCT Minister had briefed the Directors of Development Control , security services and DRTS, and had given us a matching order to stop what he termed as extreme illegality here.
” These people were taken advantage of the closeness of the University of Abuja to sell every available land here. You can imagine that someone here had built a house that run into hundreds of millions of Naira, without a proper approval, but just based on ordinary agreement signed with the Chief on foolscap sheet , that for me is an aberration.
He continued; ” No one here has any allocation. It is very sad and worrisome that Abuja is going this way. What the natives are telling people here is that if you buy land and build, before Development Control will come you would have recovered your money.
” The Minister has ordered that this place be cleared as a signal to people. Those who wants to build hostles for student can approach the administration and the University management and do it on building operate and transfer ( BOT ) or build, operate and own (BOO) arrangements with a proper allocation and development approval from government.
” The Chiefs have denied that they never sold any land, while the buyers who insist they bought the land from the chiefs are now lamenting. We asked them to produce papers of approval, but none of them have done that. They said they bought the land between N2 million and N7 million.
” We have done this, because we have the mandate to secure the city within the context of the Land Use Act .
Speaking earlier, the Acting Director, the Department of Control, Garba Kwakur, hinted that the land in which the illegal development was going on had been allocated to the Nigerian Navy.
Kwakur further added that while the developers have no valid title to the land, the buildings erected on it had no approval.
According to him ; ” All this area has long been allocated, part of this land has been allocated to the Nigerian Navy, they have complained about encroachment.
” We have come here several times and sensitised them to stop this illegal development, FCT Administration is not very happy with what is going on here.
” We have marked the illegal buildings several times, and they were cleaned off. We have met with the Chiefs and youth leaders on the need to get permit before any expansion, but they have not done that.