…go through government authorities to purchase land – FCTA

Residents in Apo Tafi on the Apo hills, a suburb of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, have called on the federal government, the FCTA, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, and other related agencies to intervene over the planned demolition of their houses and help apprehend fraudulent real estate agents and companies that illegally sold lands to them.

Following the development, Director, FCT Department of Development Control, Mr Mukhtar Galadima, on Friday urged citizens and Abuja residents to always go through proper and legal channels to purchase land in the FCT.

Speaking on Aso Radio TV on Friday during a programme that was monitored by our correspondent, Galadima said, “People who need or want to buy land in the FCT need to stop going through local chiefs and private entities who could defraud them. People need to do their research. In fact, buying land from local chiefs is not allowed, and it’s not a formal allocation. Residents and citizens need to go through the appropriate government quarters to buy or get lands.

“One of the aspirations of the founding fathers of Abuja was to provide a planned city that would provide equal opportunity for all citizens. Hence, any Nigerian citizen can come to Abuja and get a land. However, land can only be formally gotten in two ways in Abuja, and that’s either through formal allocation by the FCTA or by purchasing the land through the appropriate government authorities.

“To do these, they need to go through the Department of Land Administration and the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Department of Development Control, and sometimes even through the Department of Resettlement and Compensation.”

Meanwhile, the residents who protested on Thursday under the aegis of the Apo Hills Landlords and Residents Association, said the developers handling projects in the affected areas include Shelter Gold, BSTAN Homes, Crown Prince Estate, Four Model Estate, Green Pasture Homes, Eco City Estate, C.M.S Court, Iphee Estate, Palm Hill Estate, Spring Forth Estate, Alabaster Homes, Metropolitan Estate and Tobamat Estate.

Speaking during the protest, the general secretary, Apo Hills Landlords and Residents Association, Miracle Uduma said over 1000 landlords were made to buy lands through fraudulent developers and were given all necessary documents to develop their properties for over six years, but the residents got to recently find out on television through the director of development control, FCT, Mukhtar Galadima, who said all their buildings would be demolished as they were illegal structures.

Uduma said, “To our surprise, the developers have not come forward with any explanation as to why the papers given to us as investors are being termed fake by the FCTA.

“We must note that the least of the plots of land sold to us in the area was ₦5m, while some landlords bought theirs for as high as ₦15million.

“We demand the intervention of the government at all levels, the EFCC, and other concerned government agencies. They should come to our aid and help apprehend these fraudulent developers.”

Also speaking on the issue, Chairperson, Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, FCT chapter, Mrs Lami Ayuba noted that many developers in Abuja do exploit innocent people by selling lands and houses to them with fake documents.

Ayuba said, “Some of these developers go as far as planting people in all strategic government and public offices, where an investor can go in and make inquiries like the FCTA office, in order to perfect these crimes, hence some victims could do a little research and start building not knowing that these lands were not properly allocated to them.

“However, apart from calling out these dubious developers, these landlords will also have to go to the EFCC to make official complaint for thorough investigation as this is a financial crime.

“Meanwhile, as an institute, we advice future investors in Abuja to ensure that they ask for an allocation letter, Land Use approval, building plan approval and finally, consult planners and engineers, and they must ask for a site plan from the developers in order to escape all these land grabbers and dubious developers.”

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