In a bid to ensure that structures in the Federal Capital Territory are built in line with the Abuja masterplan, the Federal Capital Territory Administration, yesterday, demolished illegal structures, mostly attachments to residential buildings which have been turned to make-shift shops in Gwarinpa District.
Addressing journalists after the exercise, the Director of the department, Muktar Galadima, strongly warned developers and property owners to always keep to the guidelines and regulations governing physical developments in the nation’s capital.
He hinted that other infringements on developments along the Ahmadu Bello Way and other areas too would soon be sanitized.
“The exercise that was carried out in Gwarinpa was to continue the process of sanitising the city and ensuring compliance with our development guidelines. That is why this morning we have to go to Federal Housing Authority, Gwarinpa to enforce development guidelines.
“It is really unfortunate the rate at which developments are springing up without recourse to approved development plans, particularly houses that have been converted.
“In addition, owners of these property have converted available parking spaces to smaller shops, thereby, worsening traffic problems in the area.
“So, we have to remove those attachments. There are neighbourhood markets, so let them go there and do their businesses.
“The second phase of this exercise is looking at those buildings that are coming out of those reserved green areas. These areas are supposed to be for the provision of infrastructure facilities and services, but have been gradually taken over by developments,” the director added.
Explaining what should be obtainable in an ideal estate, Galadima said: “Because it is an estate that was developed by the Federal Housing Authority, if not, each district is supposed to have these facilties (markets and so on).
“If you look at the Abuja master plan, it is graded in such a way that at the starting point is the neighbourhood centre, graduating to district centre, then finally the city centre; unfortunately, some of these provisions have been ignored -not properly provided.”
Asked whether there was any contention between the two government agencies saddled with similar responsibilities, the development control boss emphatically said.
He clarified by saying that the statutory responsibility of controlling developments in the FCT rests solely with the department of Development Control, under the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA).
“FHA by law, are supposed to build estates and sell it to the general public. The issue of managing or controlling those facilities is not their primary responsibility.
“However, sometimes because of exigencies, sometimes understanding, sometimes the need to collaborate, they (FHA) have been given this leverage to do certain things, but looking at their inadequacy of capacity to control these things, that’s why we have to step up our activities.
“And I must remind you that this is not the first time we are doing this kind of exercise in Gwarinpa. We have done it several times.
“If you recall, before the end of last year, and a few weeks ago, we did similar exercise. It is a continuous one. It is not a once and for all exercise.
“As I said earlier on, the second phase is those buildings on green areas; and then, there is this market that is coming up along the corridor or arterial N 11, which we popularly call Ahmadu Bello Way.
“So all those traders that went and allocated markets among themselves should take this as a warning signal- we are going to remove them by next week.
“To a very large extent, people have taken advantage of the lockdown to quickly put up illegal structures, that’s why we have to moop up these illegalities, bring sanity and orderliness to that district,” he stated.