Seven suspects arrested over land racketeering in Abuja
Lawrence Bajah – Abuja
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), has arrested no fewer than seven estate developers allegedly involved in illegal developments and land grabbing in Guzape II, Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), of the nation’s capital.
The suspects, apprehended from two sites were taken to Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) Mobile Court in Area 3, for prosecution over land degradation, as they were caught in the act of conducting earthworks in the area.
The raid was led by officials of the FCT Departments of Development Control, Urban and Regional Planning, Land Administration, and Abuja Geographical Information System (AGIS) as well as security personnel who provided security cover for them.
Speaking on the development, the Director of Survey and Mapping, Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Bashir Mahmood, who decried the rising acts of land racketeering in the nation’s capital, said the relevant agencies acted upon complaints from contractors handling ongoing major infrastructure works in the area.
Mahmood, who represented the FCDA Executive Secretary, Engr. Shehu Hadi Ahmed, disclosed the sites concerned are within the Guzape II layout, which has been duly allocated by the Honourable FCT Minister.
“They don’t have any layout to build on, so they are even more than land grabbers, because how can you go and start developing a place that was not given to you.
“And there is an infrastructure going on there since two years ago, and the contractors are complaining about the illegal activities there, which development Control needed to go and demolish,” he added.
Similarly, Director, Development Control Department, Mukhtar Galadima, reiterated that developing without approval is deemed illegal, according to the FCT Act of 1976 and Nigeria Urban and Regional Planning Law.
Galadima said the suspects were caught in possession of a layout purported to be from AMAC showing Kpegyi which is located along Karshi-Jikwoyi road and are used to develop in Guzape II.
“We are prosecuting them before the AEPB Mobile Court for offences bordering on land and environmental degradation for claiming and developing what is not theirs,” he stressed.
Director, FCT Land Administration, Adamu Hussaini, called on the public to ensure that whatever they do on land, they should do their due diligence about any land document, and avoid falling prey to people advertising land on social media.
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