The mystery surrounding ownership of the imposing edifice on Gana Street, Maitama District of Abuja, adjacent to Transcorp-Hilton Hotel, has been removed. The architectural masterpiece is owned by Alhaji Aliyu Abubakar, the chairman of AA Oil Limited, LEADERSHIP investigations revealed.
Aliyu told LEADERSHIP that he acquired the plot of land where the structure was erected in 2005 from an indigene of Zamfara State at a cost of N1 billion. Aliyu, who trained as a building technologist before venturing into oil business, said that he financed the building from his personal savings, as he did not obtain any mortgage from any bank.
He said: "This building belongs to me. I bought the land occupying this building around 2005 from one man from Zamfara State. I bought it for N1billion because of the location. Thereafter, a thought came to me. By the way, I am a builder. I specialize in building houses of model quality. Any house I build is usually very special. The whole idea about that is just for everyone to know that it is very possible to replicate the type of things we see in overseas countries in Nigeria.
"So, I resolved that since I had the opportunity of acquiring this land, I would put up a structure that would be equal to none in the entire city and maybe the country."
Aliyu, however, declined to disclose the total cost of erecting the structure. "If you want to know the cost of this building, the only thing I will tell you is to assess it yourself. I will conduct you round the whole house, then, I will leave you to quantify the monetary value."
He said that he intends using the building as the corporate headquarters of his companies: "There are eight of them altogether spanning oil and gas, real estate, telecommunication, etc; they will be resident here."
He said that he had been under tremendous pressure from both private individuals and public organisations to either sell or lease the property to them. According to him, his response had always been that the property is for personal use only. "We will occupy all the floors from the beginning to the end," he said.
Confronted with the claim that he is fronting for some senior government officials, Aliyu denied the allegation. "I will never front for anyone. I am on my own. I can never stand for anybody and, for this project, let me tell you that the funding is entirely from my own pocket. Yes, people have approached me and some have sent messages to me that I stole public money, but I have never worked in any public organisation before."