Abuja: City Against The Poor | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Abuja: City Against The Poor

Posted: May 17, 2015 at 1:48 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Nineteen months have passed since the Federal Capital Development Administration (FCDA) vowed to demolish all uncompleted buildings in Abuja.

It had made the announcement after the murder of nine young men at an uncompleted building in Apo by security operatives. Perhaps in a bid to help cover up the senseless killings for the SSS, the FCDA promptly narrated how Boko Haram and armed robbers occupied such buildings.

It said it had marked about 500 such structures for demolition. Nobody took the FCDA or the FCTA (I don’t know the difference) seriously because what it said made no sense.

Structures abandoned by the federal government alone in Abuja and all the 36 states are countless, partly because it owes contractors several trillions of naira.

Almost all the abandoned personal buildings are owned by government contractors and government thieves.

Who else has hundreds of millions or billions of naira to spend except beneficiaries of over-inflated government contracts? Demolitions and threats of demolitions are bound to destroy the nation’s capital city.

Our governments want to impress foreign visitors with magnificent buildings, forgetting that this is a rich nation of poor people.

Since FCTA or FCDA is obsessed with demolishing structures inhabited by miscreants, it should also demolish all empty buildings in the highbrow areas.

Many houses in Maitama, Asokoro and Wuse are not occupied by tenants because their owners can’t find those that can pay them N15m per year.

Some are empty because they were built or bought with stolen money and their owners have no need of tenants’ money yet; rather than keep the money in banks (where it could be stolen by bank wreckers), they have preferred to buy houses in Abuja.

The number of uncompleted houses in the FCT is not 500 but perhaps 500, 000. You could find 500 uncompleted buildings in one estate alone. But this class of house owners can’t be afraid of the FCDA or the FCT minister.

The latter “no fit do anything”. They can use their power only on the poor. That’s why, 39 years after Abuja’s creation, less than 3 per cent is developed: no infrastructure outside the city centre.

There is no standard rule for land administration because every FCT regime comes with its own set of laws. Areas occupied for years could be “revoked” and the allottees offered alternative plots in a bush.

At other times, districts are “superimposed” on plots previously allocated to the not-so-rich. Even if the allottees built houses on their land, they are denied compensation because they do not have approval of building plans.

Yet, the Development Control department does not give approval in places without infrastructure. Little wonder it has been easy for mafia-like fraudsters to operate freely in all the FCT departments and agencies.

My friend has just lost N23m to these fraudsters. It’s easy to fall victim to the syndicate because you may find the needed land titles in AGIS today but the titles would disappear from the computer system tomorrow.