FG may revoke land allocations, demolish 6,000 buildings, slums

The Federal Government may demolish no fewer than 30 illegal settlements and slums and over 6,000 illegal buildings in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, as part of measures to restore the nation’s capital’s master plan.

 The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, who dropped the hint on resuming office on Monday, said all illegal buildings distorting the Abuja master plan would be pulled down.

Wike vowed to flatten all illegal buildings even if they belonged to a minister or an ambassador.

The slums that might be affected by the urban renewal programme would include Apo Mechanic Village, Byanzhin, Dawaki, Dei Dei, Durumi, Dutse, Garki, Garki Village, Gishiri, Gwagwalape, Idu, Jabi, Kado Village, Karmo, Karshi, Karu, Katampe, Ketti Village, Kpaduma, Kabusa, Kpana Village, Kubwa, Lokogoma, Lugbe, Mabushi, Mpape, Nyanya and Piya Kasa.

Also, those who acquired lands from Abuja indigenes may lose their investments as they were regarded by the FCT Administration as illegal.

Checks indicate that the 6,000 structures that may be affected by the restoration plans included buildings that have been abandoned for a long time in violation of the building code.

A 2022 report by the Federal Capital Territory Administration indicated that at least 6,000 abandoned homes may be affected by the threat of demolition or revocation of land titles.

The figure may, however, increase as it doesn’t include the number of illegal homes or slums in the FCT, according to FCTA officials, who spoke with one of our correspondents on Monday.

Speaking in a telephone interview on Monday, the FCTA Department of Development Control Director, Muktar Galadima, stated that a new survey might have to be conducted to evaluate the current realities.

He said, “We would have to go back to the field to ascertain that figure because some of them have completed their development since we gave that figure. We would find time to go back and conduct a new survey. As of February 2022, 6,000 abandoned houses were identified.”

Unveiling his vision to journalists and FCT Administration officials after taking the oath of office alongside 44 other ministers at the banquet hall of the President Villa, Abuja, the FCT minister also said he would revoke lands that had remained undeveloped for a long period of time.

The ex-Rivers State governor warned that houses that distorted the Abuja Master plan, including those built on green areas will also be demolished, vowing to ‘’step on toes.’’

Asked if his planned demolition was not a form of vendetta against his perceived enemies, Wike simply promised a hard time for those who violated the law irrespective of their status or position in society.

He further warned that lands that had not been developed for years, or for which ground rents had not been paid would be revoked and reallocated to those who would complete the building within a short period of time.

Wike’s agenda

Wike stated, “All those people who are distorting the master plan of Abuja, too bad. If you know you have built where you are not supposed to build, it will go down. Be you a minister of anywhere, be you an ambassador, if you know you have developed where you were not supposed to develop, your house must go down. Those who have taken over the green areas to build; sorry, our parks must come back, the green areas must come back. If you hate green, you must hate yourself.’’

Continuing, the ex-governor added, ‘’And those that the government has given C of O (Certificate of Occupancy) or allocated lands to them, that refused to develop and use, and they are becoming land speculators, the land is gone. I’m going to revoke them. We will take back our land and give to those who want to develop, and you must sign that you must develop at so and so time.’’

The minister took time to explain why he would not spare ground rent defaulters, stating that he would not issue a demand notice before revoking their plots.

He warned, “For those of you who also have refused to pay your ground rent; non-payment of ground rent is a breach of covenant. I don’t need to write to you to pay. So, if you have not paid, be it national whatever you call it, bank o, anywhere; big man o, sorry, I will not be tired to revoke.’’

‘’And all those who have left their old houses to be shanties for criminals; you are building houses for over 15 years, uncompleted buildings, now criminals have taken over the place, the government will take it back. All those uncompleted buildings defacing the city, particularly in Maitama and Asokoro, and Wuse, all those areas, I’ll take them back,’’ he threatened.

The former Rivers state governor also used the opportunity to address speculations that he might be sanctioned by his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, for accepting the ministerial nomination, stating that President Bola Tinubu asked all the state governors to nominate 10 persons each.

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