By Stanley Onyekwere
The FCT Administration has stepped up measures to recover over 200 hectares of encroached land into by suspected land grabbers and estate developers, raising unapproved structures around the Lugbe District.
It was gathered that over 150 suspected land grabbers have encroached into area meant for public facilities such as schools, markets, hospitals, and other utilities in the Sabon Lugbe area of the District.
Leading FCTA officials on a demolition exercise in the area, Acting Director, Development Control Department of the FCT, Garba Kwamkur, said the area is meant to serve as the district centre of Sabon-Lugbe said, “Over 200 hectares have been encroached upon by Criminals with fake and cloned tittle documents.
Kwamkur, who spoke to journalists shortly after a demolition exercise, said it is part of effort to sanitise the area, in line with the FCT Administration’s pronouncement to incorporate Lugbe into the Federal Capital City proper.
According to him; “As you are aware the FCT Administration has pronounced that Lugbe will be incorporated into the Federal Capital City proper, so the plan is being incorporated to have the same kind of infrastructure as those in the city.
“This area was planned for public facilities, but land now grabbers have encroached into the area and captured all the plots meant for public facilities and are developing them as housing estates thereby denying space for the necessary amenities that will be needed for the district in the future.
“But the 1976 decree that forms Abuja stipulates that any development to be carried out within the confines of the Territory needs a government permit from the department of development control before you can undertake any housing projects. But I can categorically tell you that non of them approached us for such approvals, so that is why we are here to recover these encroached plots.”
He said the department will forward the list of suspected offenders to the FCT Police commissioner to track and prosecute them as specified by the law.
“We have served them stop work notices, quit notices as spelt out in the 1992 Urban and Regional Planning Law, but the have ignored all our notices and proceeded to develop these plots without building approvals.
“Currently, we have a list of well over 150 of them and we will be sending the list to the police commissioner to further prosecution”, he stressed.
In a related development, the FCT Administration has given banks and other business organizations operating in Maitama 7 days ultimatum to vacate and relocate to the Central Business District or risk being sealed up.
In particular, the affected banks as well as other business organizations were directed to relocate to Central Business District or Idu Industrial Estate which the FCT masterplan provided for, warned that their business premises will be sealed off at the expiration of the 7 days ultimatum.
To this end, the Deparment yesterday stormed the popular Gana street in Maitama to sensitize business operators on the need to revert all the banks and other commercial hubs to their original residential purposes.
It was gathered that the Development Control Department had a week ago, served all the buildings that have currently been converted to commercial use, notification to revert them to the residential purposes which they were meant for, but failed to comply.