By Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja
The Federal Housing Authority FHA and the Federal Capital Development Authority FCDA have advanced reasons for the latter’s demolition of a mansion within the highbrow Guzape area on Saturday in Abuja.
The multi-million naira mansion belonged to Prince Joseph Kpokpogiri, the estranged lover of Nollywood actress, Tonto Dike.
Officials of the FHA led by its Managing Director, Gbenga Ashafa who had visited the site of the building three days ago, in the company of some top Management team of FCDA admitted that the plot of land originally belonged to FHA, but denied that proper building plan was approved before the mansion was erected.
FHA affirmed that notices to stop work were served at different stages and times of the work, but Kpokpogiri refused to comply.
The Executive Secretary of the Federal Capital Development Authority, Engr. Shehu Hadi who was also in the team that visited the site said the road alignment had been done long ago and FHA was duly notified.
Hadi noted that the road alignment which the demolished building obstructed was designed to serve as an important bypass to the Abuja-Keffi axis.
He added that any plan to realign the road because of the building would be difficult and not a fair judgment to those that it would affect, considering that the demolished building was not in existence earlier when the plan started.
Also speaking, the Director, Department of Development Control, Muktar Galadima said the mansion, located in the highbrow District of Guzape, Abuja, was unapproved, and could not be allowed to over ride public interest.
Galadima noted that the Mansion sitting on a rock in the fast developing district, was an obstruction to a major road network connecting the popular Apo bridge to many parts of the city.
According to him, FHA was duly allocated the Area in the district to carry out its Mass Housing programme.
He however clarified that when the road network of the district was officially realigned, FHA was promptly notified that some plots of lands within its area had been affected.
Galadima added that FHA was ordered not to allow any further development on the affected plots as replacement plots would be given to them.
He also denied lack of inter-agency collaboration between FCT Administration and FHA, stating that all necessary communications were properly documented.
“There is adequate inter-agency Corporation, the Federal Housing Authority FHA approached the Federal Capital Territory Administration FCTA for allocation and they were given global approval and were asked to make sure that whatever they do aligns with the approval.
“The plot in question was part of what was in the allocation, but because of the importance of the road, we wrote to FHA, notifying it that a number of their plots had been affected by the realignment of the road, and that we were going to give them replacement plots.
“We told them that no development should be allowed on the plots, and this was around 2019. We came for site visit and had given them noticed. We even marked the building for demolition, but the owner cleaned it off”, Galadima said.
Kpokpogiri has however claimed that the decision to pull down his mansion worth over N700m was an act of oppression.
He alleged that his house was demolished because he refused to sell it to some “powerful” but unnamed individuals who had begged him to sell the property to them, vowing to fight fervently to get justice.