April 9, 2012

Developer appeals to FCTA over land revocation

An Abuja based estate developer has appealed to the Minister in charge of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), Senator Bala Mohammed, to reconsider his decision to revoke allocated plots of lands the territory which are yet to be developed by the owners.

Group Managing Director of Century 21 Real Estate Limited, Mr. Felix Osuji Modebe, while making the appeal, acknowledged the powers of the minister to exercise such authority. He commended the minister and his predecessors for judicious implementation of land administration in the nation’s capital.

“As the Minister in charge of the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, Senator Bala Mohammed has powers to revoke any plot allocated within the capital city and beyond. But I am appealing to the minister to temper justice with mercy and give the land owners more time to enable them to arrange themselves and commence development on the plots,” he said.

Modebe advised that government makes the issue of land allocation more transparent and affordable in order to discourage the activities of land speculators, whom he blamed for making land acquisition more difficult for individuals and estate developers.

“Often times, land acquisitions are free on paper, but money must have changed hands between N100 million, N200 million if you are lucky. If you are not lucky the speculator will take it.  They will claim that they are paying the money to politicians, the minister and his people, and at times they will be asking you for N500 million,” he said.

On affordable housing, Modebe said politicians are being economical with the truth when they promise housing for all as part of their electoral promises, saying that affordability of houses in Nigeria will remain a mirage as long as politicians continue to indirectly sell land to estate developers.

According to him, government policy on affordable housing could be feasible if land is free, but you will discover that those in charge of land allocation always appropriate it to themselves and their cronies who will later turn it into the market.

He noted that another factor militating against affordable housing in the country to include high cost of building materials, which he urged government to look into.  “Affordability is not realisable because of the cost of building materials. The land is not for free, and some people are selling the land that should have been given to developers to build affordable homes,” he noted.