The FCT Urban and Regional Planning Tribunal (URPT) has decried low patronage of its services by private developers and relevant stakeholder departments and agencies in addressing disputes from land and physical development in the territory.
The development, which tends to slow down the tribunal’s pace of operation, was attributed to the lackadaisical attitude of government agencies and lack of knowledge of the court.
According to the Acting Secretary of the tribunal, Yahaya Abubakar, who made the disclosure recently, since its inception in 1996, the tribunal has received a total of 90 complaints filled by litigants.
He said out of this number, 12 complaints were determined on their merit, 18 complaints were out for lack of diligent prosecution or want of jurisdiction and a total of 53 are ongoing.
The FCT-URPT boss, however, explained that as a quasi-judicial body, the tribunal cannot initiate proceedings on its own, as it’s only permitted to preside over issues filed properly by aggrieved persons.
A major challenge is the lack of cooperation from stakeholder departments and agencies in terms of responding to hearing notices, giving information and forwarding cases.
Again, the Tribunal is under-utilised by the Department of Development Control, which by virtue of its enabling Act is the enforcer of the planning law.
Therefore, the tribunal requires the cooperation of all stakeholders, in order to function maximally and effectively,” he stressed.
The tribunal was set up to among other things to remove bottlenecks associated with the implementation of the Abuja Master Plan, promote high public confidence and remove administrative conflicts in planning, enforcement and control.