THE Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has threatened to revoke ownership of empty plots of land in the Apo-Dutse area of the FCT.
Senior Special Assistant to the FCT Minister on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement, Ikharo Attah, issued the threat on Friday during a demolition exercise in the area.
Attah noted that the empty plots were serving as hide-outs for criminal elements.
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He warned that the ownership of the plots will be revoked if the owners fail to develop them.
“If they (owners) fail to do so, we will be left with no option but to write and recommend to the Minister for the revocation of all land titles because we cannot suffer in vain clearing this place for this number of days, and the owners will sit down to speculate, waiting for when they will make big money.
“What we are telling them is that the owners of this expanse of land housing the Apo-Dutse Pantaker should commence development or it will be revoked and given to those who are ready to develop,” he said.
Attah noted that a part of Gosa had been earmarked as a permanent site for Pantaker operatives within the FCT.
“We have advised the operators of Pantaker to move to Gosa Dumpsites. As they keep going to the wrong places, we will continue to go after them.
“To avoid criminalities in the scrap market, we have also advised them to move to the permanent site and develop internal mechanisms to stop criminals from infiltrating them,” he said.
The demolition exercise commenced on Thursday and was completed on Friday morning. However, some traders told The ICIR that there had been a period of warning before the exercise was carried out.
Osita Nwankwo, a trader in the area, said he could not salvage anything from his shop during the exercise.
“People knew they would come. They came yesterday and completed it today. I was not in the shop when they came today. I only saw them when they were leaving and a lot of things have been destroyed. We hope to find another place for our business,” he said.
The FCTA had embarked on a mass demolition of houses earlier this year, an exercise which has become quite common among residents recently.
The FCT Minister had said during a press briefing at the presidential villa on Thursday that demolition exercises would be continued across the FCT to restore the distorted Abuja Master plan.
“As we are seated here, a team is demolishing somewhere already today. And these things will continue, because no matter how you try, there are those who still will not want to follow regulation,” Bello said.
Ijeoma Opara is a journalist with The ICIR. Reach her via firstname.lastname@example.org or @ije_le on Twitter.