We are not for demolition – AMMC

The Director, Department of Development Control, Abuja Metropolitan Management Company (AMMC), Mr. Yahaya Yusuf, has said that the mandate of the company goes beyond removal of illegal structures in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Yusuf, who spoke in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Sunday in Abuja, said the AMMC is also a development assisting agency.

According to him, the department resorts to demolition of structures when developers fail to comply with stipulated guidelines.

He said that the department applied universal standards in regulating construction of buildings in the FCT to avoid emergence of slums in parts of the territory.

‘‘A structure is illegal when it has no approved plan or if it has an approved plan that was ignored by the developer.

‘‘But illegal structures do not necessarily have to be demolished unless it becomes exigent or if developers become recalcitrant to our specifications.

‘‘Sometimes when we go for removal, we discover that some parties are in the process of regularising their papers, we leave them; we take decisions in the best interest of the public.

‘’Even the series of notices we give before demolition is an indication that we consider demolition a last resort,’’ he said.

Yusuf said that the nature of demolition made it to attract more public attention than other functions of the department.

‘‘We now engage in a lot of sensitisation and public enlightenment to make the public aware of the right steps to take in construction, and we also liaise directly with artisans on the sites.

‘‘In 2013, we gave above 1,900 building approvals, consisting mainly of estates of more than 100 buildings, and you can imagine the level of impact that will have on the lives of residents.

“‘We plan to improve on this in 2014, but the spectacular nature of demolition shifts public attention from these modest achievements,’’ the director said.

He said that the department maintained a high level of independence and could not be used to settle political scores. (NAN)

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