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6,000 Illegal Buildings In Abuja Would Be Pulled Down - FCT Minister, Wike Vows.

Nyesom Wike

The Federal Government may demolish no fewer than 30 illegal settlements and slums and over 6,000 illegal buildings in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, as part of measures to restore the nation’s capital’s master plan.

The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, who dropped the hint on resuming office on Monday, said all illegal buildings distorting the Abuja master plan would be pulled down.

Wike vowed to flatten all illegal buildings even if they belonged to a minister or an ambassador.

The slums that might be affected by the urban renewal programme would include Apo Mechanic Village, Byanzhin, Dawaki, Dei Dei, Durumi, Dutse, Garki, Garki Village, Gishiri, Gwagwalape, Idu, Jabi, Kado Village, Karmo, Karshi, Karu, Katampe, Ketti Village, Kpaduma, Kabusa, Kpana Village, Kubwa, Lokogoma, Lugbe, Mabushi, Mpape, Nyanya and Piya Kasa.

Also, those who acquired lands from Abuja indigenes may lose their investments as they were regarded by the FCT Administration as illegal.

Checks indicate that the 6,000 structures that may be affected by the restoration plans included buildings that have been abandoned for a long time in violation of the building code.

A 2022 report by the Federal Capital Territory Administration indicated that at least 6,000 abandoned homes may be affected by the threat of demolition or revocation of land titles.

The figure may, however, increase as it doesn’t include the number of illegal homes or slums in the FCT, according to FCTA officials, who spoke with one of our correspondents on Monday.

Speaking in a telephone interview on Monday, the FCTA Department of Development Control Director, Muktar Galadima, stated that a new survey might have to be conducted to evaluate the current realities.

He said, “We would have to go back to the field to ascertain that figure because some of them have completed their development since we gave that figure. We would find time to go back and conduct a new survey. As of February 2022, 6,000 abandoned houses were identified.”

Unveiling his vision to journalists and FCT Administration officials after taking the oath of office alongside 44 other ministers at the banquet hall of the President Villa, Abuja, the FCT minister also said he would revoke lands that had remained undeveloped for a long period of time.

The ex-Rivers State governor warned that houses that distorted the Abuja Master plan, including those built on green areas will also be demolished, vowing to ‘’step on toes.’’

Asked if his planned demolition was not a form of vendetta against his perceived enemies, Wike simply promised a hard time for those who violated the law irrespective of their status or position in society.

He further warned that lands that had not been developed for years, or for which ground rents had not been paid would be revoked and reallocated to those who would complete the building within a short period of time.

Wike’s agenda

Wike stated, “All those people who are distorting the master plan of Abuja, too bad. If you know you have built where you are not supposed to build, it will go down. Be you a minister of anywhere, be you an ambassador, if you know you have developed where you were not supposed to develop, your house must go down. Those who have taken over the green areas to build; sorry, our parks must come back, the green areas must come back. If you hate green, you must hate yourself.’’

Continuing, the ex-governor added, ‘’And those that the government has given C of O (Certificate of Occupancy) or allocated lands to them, that refused to develop and use, and they are becoming land speculators, the land is gone. I’m going to revoke them. We will take back our land and give to those who want to develop, and you must sign that you must develop at so and so time.’’

The minister took time to explain why he would not spare ground rent defaulters, stating that he would not issue a demand notice before revoking their plots.

He warned, “For those of you who also have refused to pay your ground rent; non-payment of ground rent is a breach of covenant. I don’t need to write to you to pay. So, if you have not paid, be it national whatever you call it, bank o, anywhere; big man o, sorry, I will not be tired to revoke.’’

‘’And all those who have left their old houses to be shanties for criminals; you are building houses for over 15 years, uncompleted buildings, now criminals have taken over the place, the government will take it back. All those uncompleted buildings defacing the city, particularly in Maitama and Asokoro, and Wuse, all those areas, I’ll take them back,’’ he threatened.

The former Rivers state governor also used the opportunity to address speculations that he might be sanctioned by his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, for accepting the ministerial nomination, stating that President Bola Tinubu asked all the state governors to nominate 10 persons each.

He disclosed that he wrote to his party leaders before accepting the nomination.

He noted, “They say they are going to sanction me that I took an appointment. That is ridiculous. The President wrote to every governor, 36 state governors, to bring names of people to appoint. Every PDP governor wrote a letter and nominated 10 persons for appointment to this government.

“The one they talk about is Wike. Before this appointment came, I wrote to the national party chairman, I wrote to the minority leaders of the House of Reps and Senate, I wrote to the zonal chairman of the party, I wrote to my state chairman, I wrote to my governor; all of them wrote me back and sent it. I have it in evidence, documented.’’

Wike promised to revive the FCT transportation sector by reintroducing the mass transit buses and clearing motorcycles from within the city centre.

The minister emphasised that his administration will work to develop the outer regions of the city, depopulate the city centre and bring development to the communities on the outskirts of the nation’s capital.

‘No okada’

Vowing to rid the city of motorcycles and tricycles, he said, “Motorcycles cannot take over the city, it is not possible. You are dragging a road with a motorcycle, and even the motorcycle is not wearing any security, no helmet, and he’s carrying somebody at the back. Keke Napep (tricycles) have taken over the whole place.

“We are going to provide alternatives to reduce the suffering of the people, who may not have the means to have their own private vehicles. We must also extend development to the area councils, we must extend development.

“If you do that, so many people would not like to come and live in the city. That’s part of decongesting the city. Look at the Metro line, it’s not working, is it working? We will bring it back.”

But panicked residents who may be affected by the planned demolition exercise have frowned on the position of the minister, saying they would not support any indiscriminate destruction of properties. They appealed to Wike not to worsen hardship in the country.

Speaking with our correspondent, a Kubwa resident, Tola Anya-Nuga declared that Wike’s threat came at a time when citizens were going through a lot and the country’s economy was not doing well.

He stated, “The truth is that no one will ever support the demolition of properties but if the areas will affect or have continued to affect the citizens such as houses on canals or under high tension wires, demolishing such places is a good idea.

“Wike’s speech came at the wrong time because he presented a heart-breaking speech. It can give one hypertension. The country is tense and things are very expensive. Wike and the FG should allow the poor to breathe. He should not have talked about demolition on his first day in office.”

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