137 illegal structures demolished by the FCT

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The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) demolished over 137 illegal hostel blocks, hotels, and other structures at Iddo Sarki, a community adjacent to the University of Abuja’s main campus, over the weekend. The exercise was carried out by 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 in accordance with the Ministerial directive to remove all contraventions and illegality within the nation’s capital. Ikharo Attah, Chairman of the Ministerial Committee on City Sanitation, said the FCT Minister was enraged by people’s continued disregard for warnings to stay away from local chiefs who, according to the Land Use Act, have no authority to sell lands or transfer any valid title to buyers of such land. That exercise, according to Attah, was a quick intervention to avoid further distorting the city’s development plans and to save desperate businessmen and women from financial ruin. He said it was unfortunate that some people continued to ignore timely warnings and engage in land transactions with local chiefs without the approval of the relevant government. Attah claimed that if the illegal hostel blocks and other development projects on the land had followed official procedures, the millions of Naira invested would have been properly directed. He went on to say that the investors’ hasty process had not only violated existing laws, but had also distorted the Abuja Master Plan, resulting in massive economic waste. According to him, the FCT Minister has stated that he is committed to promoting investment in the city, but that he will not tolerate illegalities or disobedience to the Land Use Act’s provisions. “FCTA is concerned about what is going on here,” he said. The Director of Development Control, security services, and DRTS had been briefed by the FCT Minister, and we had been given a matching order to stop what he called “extreme illegality” here. “These people took advantage of the University of Abuja’s proximity to sell every available piece of land here. You can imagine someone here building a house worth hundreds of millions of Naira without proper approval, but based solely on a simple agreement signed with the Chief on a foolscap sheet. That, to me, is an outlier. “There isn’t a single allocation here. The fact that Abuja is heading in this direction is both sad and concerning. What the locals are telling people here is that if you buy land and build, you will have recouped your investment before Development Control arrives. “As a warning to the public, the Minister has ordered that this area be cleared. Those who want to construct student housing can approach the administration and University management and do so under a building operate and transfer ( BOT ) or build, operate, and own ( BOO ) arrangement with proper government allocation and development approval. “The chiefs have denied selling any land, while the buyers who claim to have purchased it from the chiefs are now complaining. We requested that they produce approval papers, but none of them have done so. They claimed to have paid between N2 million and N7 million for the land.” Acting Director of the Department of Control, Garba Kwakur, also spoke out, revealing that the land where the illegal development was taking place had been given to the Nigerian Navy. Kwakur went on to say that while the developers did not have a valid title to the land, the structures they built on it were not approved.

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