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Published On: Wed, Jun 25th, 2014

Land use contravention: Devt Control seals 3 hotels, security coy

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•Tenants resist ejection over re-decoration order

By Stanley Onyekwere

 The Department of Development Control, of the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC), yesterday sealed three hotels and one private security company in Jabi and Maitama District, of the city, for alleged refusal to pay charges for land use contravention.

The hotels are: La’ Don hotels, Jabi, Prix Air hotel and African Safari hotels, both in Maitama; with a private security company, Panic Alert Security Systems (PASS), in Maitama, completing the number

Summary of the total accumulated debt by the four sealed premises revealed that La Don is owing about N23 million; African Safari owns a total sum of N22 million; Panic Alert System has a total bill of N3 million; and Prix Air hotel owns about N11 million.

Officials of the department, who were accompanied by armed security personnel drawn from the Army and Police, sealed the premises, which they said are meant for residential purposes, but the owners are contravening the land use.

Head, Operations of the Department, Yusuf Anarayu, said the exercise is part efforts to ensure strict compliance with the Abuja master plan.

He said recently they discovered that those contravening the land use law have refused to make their payment for converting their premises into something else, adding that’s why they chose to follow them.

“There are consultants, who work in conjunction with Development Control officials, to collect the revenue generated for the FCT, and So far, they have been issuing bills round the FCT, but there are some stubborn defaulters.

“We noticed that there are some stubborn areas, whereby each time we seal them, they unseal themselves. And they always make it look as if they are untouchable; and we don’t have any power to seal their premises.

Also, the Principal estate officer with land use contravention unit in the Department, Adamu Zamani, said the activities around these sealed premises are over stretching existing infrastructures, because the properties were not originally meant for those uses.

He described as unfortunate the attitudes of the defaulters, as they ignore several warning notices served on them, saying it is the third time the officials are visiting these places.

However, the spokesman of the Department, Kalu Emetu, said “Government is not after what they pay, but the main objective is for them to revert back to their original use, and for us issue them with these charges is to let them to know that there is the need for them to revert.

“But there is a stage it will get to, will not fail to prosecute them, because that is the final destination. And with the way they are going, definitely take the next step, which is going to the appropriate court, to enforce compliance.”

Peoples Daily, gathered that in line with the Urban and Regional Tribunal Act Law no 88 (1992), a property is first identify as contravening the Abuja master plan, and the owner of the property is informed of the contravention, and he or she is given an opportunity to come to our office, with any relevant document to defend him or herself.

Similarly, On Tuesday, some officials of the Aesthetics and Amenities Division, of the AMMC, intensified its enforcement of re-decoration order on buildings in the FCT

To this end, the officials, in company personnel however did not succeed in their attempt to lock occupants out of the Danyadado Plaza in Garki Area 11, in the Territory, for allegedly violating the order, as the occupants of the plaza protested and resisted the ejection move.

They insisted that the officials should channel the enforcement of the re-decoration infringement against the owner of the plaza.

One of the occupants, Stanley Orakpo, said that re-decoration of the plaza was the responsibility of the landlord, as they had paid rent for the premises.

According to him, most tenants in the plaza had recently renewed their rents with the landlord and should not be made to suffer unnecessary financial loss.

“We have paid for the premises and our rent is still running, any problem with the building should be the responsibility of the landlord,” he said.

However, Head of the Division, Dominic Odenigbo, said the directive on re-decoration of commercial and residential buildings in the FCT was necessary to maintain the beauty of the territory.

He said the enforcement of redecoration of buildings in the city has been going on since the beginning of the year; and that adequate notices have been served on fourteen buildings in the Territory.

He noted that it is not a case of the building been conversion of the place from its initial purpose into something else; that is a different issue. We have not gotten any court order.

“What we expected is for people to keep neat-updating your painting works; your plumbing works; your roof works; and everything that makes a building becomes dilapidated.

“But after discussing with them, we now decided to give them one week extension. However, we are supposed to meet further on the issue, may be later in the day. We have already given them one week extra, to pave way for amicable way of enforcing the order,” he said.

 

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