By Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja
The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) during the weekend demolished over 137 illegal hostel blocks, hotels and other buildings at Iddo Sarki, a community adjacent to the main campus of the University of Abuja.
A combined team of FCT Ministerial Committee on City Sanitation, Department of Development Control, Department of Security Services and other relevant agencies that carried out the exercise said the exercise was in line with the Ministerial directive to remove every contraventions and illegality within the nation’s capital.
Chairman of the Ministerial Committee on City Sanitation, Ikharo Attah, said that FCT Minister was angered by peoples continued disregard 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.
Attah noted that exercise was a quick intervention to avert further distortion of the city’s development plans, as well as rescue desperate business men and women from economic waste.
He said it was unfortunate that certain people have continued; ignore timely warnings to venture into land transactions with local Chiefs, without relevant government’s approval.
Attah stated that the millions of Naira invested in constructing the illegal hostel blocks and other developmental projects on the land, would have been properly directed, had they complied with official procedures.
He added that the shortcut process undertaken by the investors had not only infringed heavily on extant laws, but distorted Abuja Master plan, while leading into colossal economic waste.
According to him, the 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.
He said: “FCTA is concerned about what is going on here. The 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 ran into hundreds of millions of Naira, without a proper approval, but just based on an ordinary agreement signed with the Chief on a foolscap sheet , that for me is an aberration.
“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 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.”
Also speaking, Acting Director, the Department of Control, Garba Kwakur, disclosed 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.