Stories by Stanley Onyekwere
In order to improve the nature of buildings and the general environment of neighbourholds in the Federal Capital Territory (FCC), residents have been urged to redecorate their buildings, at least once in four years, or stand the risk of being dragged before relevant mobile court, for prosecution.
The Director of the Department of Development Control, Yahaya Yusuf, who gave the charge, while speaking to newsmen during the resumed sitting of FCT administration’s Mobile court, at the weekend, in Area 1,Garki District, said within the stipulated period, property owners are expected to redecorate their buildings.
He pointed out that within the period, painting works, roof, plumbing and any other facilities of a given buildings would have been affected, noting that presently there are so many buildings in the FCC that are at various levels of dilapidation.
“When we approved a building plan for anybody, what we are saying is that we want it to be in a particular stately appearance all through its lifespan.
“But if for any reason that after four years that you did the last decoration work on your building, and we now observe anything that is faulty with that house, we will still come back at you, and ask you to rectify it.
“This is because, it is that individual decision that property owners take on every building that accumulates into what makes the city what it is,” he stressed.
He adds that, “the import of this, (enforcement of redecoration of buildings, is that we want any building that will be in the FCC, to measure up to what we want to see in that environment.
“We are not only using this tool (mobile court) to influence the people to take the right decisions on those buildings (dilapidated structures), but also we to sensitise others, to know that they stand the risk of being dragged before the mobile court, if they don’t also put their buildings right, just because they have initially spent some money on them.
“We have been moving from Wuse to Garki District, but the idea is to extend it to other districts like Gwarinpa, Asokoro and Maitama, as we discover concentration of buildings that are so unkempt, then we will make the mobile court sit there, to prosecute cluster of occupants and owners of those affected structures,”
Meanwhile, earlier at the Mobile court presided over Magistrate Bashir Alkali, handled charges of offences bordering on nature of premises against cluster of occupants and owners of some houses in Section 1&2, of Area 1, Garki District.
The Magistrate issued an order for the arrest of 18 persons was given by the court while another eight persons were fined N5000 each for disregarding court summons, so as to compel their appearance before the court.
Also, there were matters adjourned for hearing at the previous sitting of the court, involving a whole block of 124 flats that were represented by a counsel, who raised issues that the court obliged them accordingly, by stroking out the charges against them.
According to the prosecutor, Barrister Arome Tokula, the affected occupants were arraigned in the court, for failing to redecorate and beautiful their homes and environment, contrary to Section 35 (1e) of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) Act of 1997, which is also punishable under sub- section 2 (b) of the same section of the Act, upon which the accused persons were prosecuted.
Peoples Daily reports that most of the prosecuted occupants of some clusters of houses in the area, who described the exercise as a welcome development, however urged the officials of the Development Control to ensure that they always carry out due inspection on buildings suspected to be in dilapidated state, before charging the occupants or owners to court.