editorial2While commissioning just 49 “high luxury apartments” built by Abuja Investments Co. Ltd at “AICL Apo Dutse Housing Estate” recently, FCT minister Bala Mohammed boasted that his administration had allocated mass housing plots to 136 developers since 2010. He recounted other achievements: Land Swap, social housing scheme, and award of contracts for the provision of infrastructure in 10 districts.
We believe the minister raised more questions than answers: Of the 136 mass housing plots, how many have been developed like the “AICL Apo Dutse Housing Estate”? To whom did the FCTA (which owns AICL) award the contract for the construction of the 49 “high luxury apartments” that cost N3billion? Are 49 houses enough for the FCTA to gloat about tackling the nation’s housing deficit “in consonance with the transformation agenda of the federal government”?
Minister Mohammed ought to bury his head in shame for doing little more than awarding contracts, allocating 136 plots and, of course, demolishing thousands of houses built by struggling FCT residents in the last four years. While it cost the FCTA N3billion to build only 49 houses, it cost Minanuel Estate the same N3billion to build 500 housing units along the Airport Road, which Mohammed’s demolition squad wasted in 2012; it then reallocated the plot to influential people in government.
We condemn the FCTA’s penchant for destroying people’s homes without giving them an alternative. It is against the principle of natural justice. There is no clear housing or land administration policy in the FCT because every minister comes with his own agenda. Plots that were properly allocated two years ago become illegal next year, as the FCTA keeps changing the rules. Many people seeking approval of their building plans often get frustrated because one plot could be allocated and re-allocated to different people. And why have the beneficiaries of the 136 mass housing plots not developed theirs like the AICL so as to reduce the housing demand in the FCT? It is not strange that the FCTA has been facing many lawsuits.
A cabal that straddles the various departments – AGIS, urban and Regional Planning, Development Control – regularly steals and falsifies land titles. Developers can only get allocations when they agree to give FCTA officials through their cronies at least 30 per cent of their plots or housing units. Are we lying? We challenge the FCTA to publish the names of the 136 developers it has granted allocations for mass housing plots in the past four years. Most beneficiaries of the plot allocations have been traced to the minister’s home state Bauchi; no company or association without links to influential officials of the FCTA got any allocation.
Two years ago, the FCTA used a smart aleck to dupe motorists of N2, 000 each for a device called “e-coding” that did not work even for one day. The billions of naira raised through that scam remain unaccounted for. There is no end to the fraudulent deals perpetrated by FCTA officials on the watch of Bala Mohammed.


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