By Stanley Onyekwere
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) through the Development Control Department of the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC), yesterday, threatened to seal-off La Don Hotel, over failure to offset a N22 million land use contravention fine.
According to the head of operations, land use contravention unit of the department, Mr. Yusuf Anarayn, said that the N22 million was accumulated charges for allegedly using a residential plot for commercial purposes belonging to one of the 2014 national honours awards recipient, Dr. Peter Ojeme,
Anarayn, who made the disclosure while answering questions from newsmen at the hotel, noted that officials of the FCTA had sealed the hotel last week but the staff carried on with their business activities, without offsetting the arrears.
“As you can see this property was designed for residential use but they have converted it to commercial purpose, a hotel.
“In essence the government wants them to revert to initial purpose but the administration was magnanimous enough to fine them for contravention instead of outrightly sealing the premises. However, the management has refused to pay up hence our enforcement drive here.”
“And we sealed it last week and they defied the FCT and unsealed themselves; we’re here to tell them that no one is above the law and they shouldn’t take the law into their hands.
As long as you’re a citizen of this country you should be law abiding but a gentleman here is pleading that we should not seal the premises because the owner/chairman is receiving national honours award today,” he stated.
However, the management of the hotel was given a 24 hour ultimatum (expiring today) to meet with the department and resolve the issue or risk having the hotel sealed.
In an interview with a staff of the hotel, one Mr. Tony Okonigene, assured that the chairman of the hotel will meet with the department, and resolve the issue amicably, as the chairman of this hotel is a law abiding citizen.
“As you’ve heard it’s not as if the hotel was not approved. It has been here for over nine years. I want to assure you that he’s a law abiding citizen, a national award awardee. The president does not give award to people that are not law abiding. I called him and he said he will personally intervene to sort out this issue,” he stressed.