9 November 2011

Nigeria: Senate to Resolve Abuja Land Allocation Crisis

The Senate has expressed displeasure over various lingering land allocation crises in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, promising to immediately dialogue with concerned authorities with a view to resolving the matter.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim, who disclosed this during a short visit to some estates in Lugbe area of the FCT at the weekend, expressed worry that developmental activities in the real estate sector in the FCT have depreciated to an all-time lowest ebb, following complaints of complications in land title documentation.

It could be recalled that FCDA had severally proclaimed that some estate developments in Lugbe, Bwari and a few other area councils of Abuja were without FCDA approvals. The Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria, REDAN, had also claimed that its members have lost a great deal of their investments due to apathy caused by the FCDA's proclamation.

However, Bukar Abba Ibrahim, who was accompanied by some officials of REDAN led by its National President, Chief Olabode Afolayan, said his committee will liaise with relevant bodies - the FCDA, REDAN and other stakeholders - to find a lasting solution to the matter.

Ibrahim said: "I can't understand why there are such increasing issues of land title problems, especially in the FCT. Nice estates are built to such a completion level as this, and in a country where we are still talking about shortage in housing, yet developers of estates are being threatened with demolition. No, it is completely unacceptable, it doesn't make sense to me.

"We must formally call them to thrash out whatever the issues are. Also, I have observed that developers are the ones providing infrastructure by themselves, this is wrong. We must immediately seat down with them to call them to order. No meaningful development can be achieved under this circumstance. I have been told by your national president how much developers and estate owners have lost since the threat was issued by FCDA.

"I am sorry for those whose estates have been demolished, I don't know if any of you has taken legal action. But for these, we would get to the root, and make sure business resumes to normalcy," he assured.

Speaking on behalf of the developers, Afolayan, who noted that the lingering land allocation crisis has now made the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, FMBN, to stop funding estate projects whose papers are AMAC allocations, further appealed to the FCDA authorities to immediately end the crisis by harmonizing existing structures in its newly created layouts.

"Real estate business, especially in Abuja is experiencing a downturn and indeed lull. We, as informed practitioners, had warned of the adverse effect of perceived inconsistencies on the part of the authorities. I know how many complaints I receive almost on daily basis regarding various issues of land allocation crisis, which our members are mostly affected.

"We will continue to tow the path of dialogue with the authorities and make them see reason and effect of their actions on the sector. As I speak with you now, our members are losing huge amounts either as interest accrued on estate loans, customers' refunds, and others. We are appealing to FCDA to come out and clear the air on this matter so that business can continue," the developers representative urged.

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