Daily Trust (Abuja)

9 December 2012

Nigeria: ANA Still Battling to Secure its Land

The dust is yet to settle over the battle for a choice piece of land allocated to the Association of Nigerian Authors, ANA, in Abuja by the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, the late Gen. Mamman Vatsa in 1986 despite a February court ruling that affirmed the association's ownership of the land.

Scavengers are still determined to poach the land and have reportedly gone as far as offering the association's president Prof. Remi Raji, some N60m and a brand new jeep to turn a blind eye to their attempts to acquire and develop the land by fraudulent means.

Making the revelation recently in Abuja, the association's Vice President, Malam Denja Abdullahi said, "They went to Ibadan to see the National President and offered him a bribe of N60m and a jeep, but the president told them he has no deal with them, that he has no right to trade a property belonging to an association, which was allocated to ANA by late writer and FCT Minister, Mamman Vatsa."

The land has been the subject of dispute between ANA and an estate developer, Home Securities, which the association had contracted to develop the 53.7 hectares of land located at Mpape, Abuja in exchange for a portion of the land. The deal was terminated by a succeeding executive in 2008, resulting in a bitter dispute that culminated in the February ruling by an Abuja court.

On a visit to the land, the present executive discovered that portions of the land have been sold by Home Securities to another firm, Miyosam, which in turn sold it to a certain Gandu Properties, which has sold off portions of the land to private developers.

Further investigations at Abuja Geographic Information System (AGIS) showed that Gandu Properties had gone as far as paying over N11m in the name of ANA to AGIS in a bid to take possession of the Certificate of Ownership (C of O) for the land, a move the association has successfully blocked.

Signboards mounted on the land by ANA affirming it's ownership of the land were taken down by unknown persons within hours, Mal. Abdullahi told reporters who visited the land.

The leadership of ANA has written the EFCC and FCT Commissioner of Police and the two agencies have swung into action, sending their men to secure the said property.

ANA has entered into another agreement with KMVL Properties to develop the land.

In a statement, President of ANA, Prof. Remi Raji reiterated his EXCO's determination to secure the land for ANA and develop it in line with the visions of the late Mamman Vatsa

"The great leap forward has commenced. The dream is for us to harness our individual and collective goodwill in pushing the projects on this land forward. By so doing, we intend to create job opportunities for some, homes for some, means of livelihood for some, a source of pride for some, and, overall, an economic base that shall henceforth keep us from running cap in hand, from one government office to another, seeking handouts with which to run our affairs. After thirty years, this Association consisting of the custodians of our national conscience, has resolved to live by example, proving that age is not just a number, but an asset to those who can harness it in that direction," he said.

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