By Stanley Onyekwere
In what seems as a subtle response to the increasing land racketeering in the nation’s capital city, the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC) has declared resolve to punish and prosecute government officials involved in the menace.
According to the Council, which is the city management arm of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), some unscrupulous elements, in connivance with some government officials, are reportedly issuing letters of land allocation in the Territory.
Making this disclosure at the weekend, Acting Coordinator of the Council, Abdulhamid Sulaiman, noted that only the FCT Minister has the delegated exclusive powers to allocate any land, be it open spaces, green areas or recreational parks in the FCT.
Sulaiman, while briefing some journalists in his office, warned the public not to fall victim of such criminal activities, but always ensured they got any land allocation through the right channels.
He said: “The FCT Administration is already aware that some unscrupulous elements, in connivance with some officials, are reportedly issuing letters of allocation in this respect.
“And anybody caught dealing on these illegal allocations will not only be dealt with in the Civil Service way, but will also be prosecuted.”
The AMMC boss reiterated that there was an existing embargo on land allocation for green areas, recreational parks and open spaces in the FCT, affirmed that any allocation or transaction with respect to these land purposes while the embargo subsists was “null and void.”
“Any land transaction outside the Minister’s approval is deemed illegal and illegitimate; and culprit will be prosecuted and punished accordingly.
“ I also want to draw the attention of the public to strict adherence to development control guidelines because the FCT is a planned city, based on the Abuja Master Plan and all the regulations must be followed in order to avoid distortion that could risk destruction of lives and property.
“Therefore, those willing to develop their legitimately and legally allocated land should approach the Development Control department for guidance and proper approval before they can commence development”, he stated.
Furthermore, he advised the public to desist from and avoid construction of structures along river courses and flood plains to mitigate devastating effects of flood in parts of the FCT, urging them to own the huge existing infrastructure and report any incidence of vandalism to appropriate authorities.