By Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja
The Federal Capital Territory Administration FCTA has given a seven-day ultimatum to business organizations operating in Maitama to vacate the highbrow district and relocate to the Central Business District or risk being sealed.
Acting Director, Department of Development Control, Garba Kwamkur gave the warning on Tuesday when the Department stormed the popular Gana street in Maitama to sensitize business operators to their original residential purposes.
According to him, “the Department had a week ago served all the buildings that have currently been converted to commercial uses, notifications to revert to residential purposes which they were meant for, but failed to comply”.
Kwamkur who directed the business organizations to relocate to the Central Business District or Idu Industrial Estate as provided for in the FCT masterplan warned that their business premises will be sealed off at the expiration of the ultimatum.
Meanwhile, over 200 hectares of land in the Federal Capital City has been encroached upon by land grabbers who have resorted to erecting unapproved structures around the Lugbe District.
According to Kwamkur, over 150 criminals have encroached into areas meant for public facilities in the Sabon-Wuse area of the district.
Kwamkur who spoke to journalist shortly after a demolition exercise said the demolition is part of efforts to sanitize the area in line with the FCT Administration’s pronouncement to incorporate Lugbe into the Federal Capital City proper.
“As you are aware the FCT Administration has pronounced that Lugbe will be incorporated into the Federal Capital City proper, so the plan is being incorporated to have the same kind of infrastructure as those in the city.
“This area was planned for public facilities such as schools, markets, hospitals, and other public utilities, but land grabbers have encroached into the area and captured all the plots meant for public facilities and are developing them as housing estates thereby denying space for the necessary amenities that will be needed for the district in the future.
Kwamkur who stressed that the area is meant to serve as the district centre of Sabon-Lugbe said, “Over 200 hectares have been encroached upon by criminals with fake and cloned title documents.
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But the 1976 decree that forms Abuja stipulates that any development to be carried out within the confines of the territory needs a government permit from the department of development control before you can undertake any housing projects. But I can categorically tell you that none of them approached us for such approvals so that is why we are here to recover these encroached plots.”
He said the department will forward the list of suspected offenders to the FCT Police commissioner to track and prosecute as specified by the law.
“We have served them ‘stop work notices’, ‘quit notices’ as spelt out in 1992 Urban and Regional Planning Law, but they have ignored all our notices and proceeded to develop these plots without building approvals.
“Currently we have a list of well over 150 of them and we will be sending the list to the police commissioner for further prosecution.”