We have reformed land administration in Abuja – Jibrin
The Federal Capital Territory Administration has said that it has greatly improved on land administration in the FCT, emphasising that title documents issued by the present administration are bankable as against what the authority described as "worthless" papers in the past.
Making this disclosure during a post-FCT executive council meeting in Abuja, last week, Executive Secretary, Federal Capital Development Authority, FCDA, Engr. Umar Jibrin, stated that they discussed and took decisions that would improve service delivery to residents and ensure smooth land administration.
"When this FCT Administration came on board, there were a lot of issues regarding land administration, so we took a holistic move to see how the issues bedevilled the FCTA could be solved.
"We therefore reviewed many of such issues that would have positive impact on the city and its residents, including mass housing delivery, especially in the satellite towns, general environmental cleaning, water provision and security issues, among others.
"The exco meeting also looked at legal issues, you know the FCT itself is a product of law so we have to follow the laws while living in the territory and running it. That is why the Legal Secretary has been ensuring that everything we do not end up in court," he stated.
Jibrin also said that FCT management team discovered that operators of most parks in Abuja have violated their terms of lease, leading to a situation where many parks constitute insecurity, encourage drug peddling and other social vices like prostitution, among others.
Legal Services Secretary, Mohammed Umar, while speaking later, revealed that he met over 2000 litigation cases on assumption of duty and more than 50 percent of them were land-related, prompting the administration to initiate processes to strengthen and standardise land allocation processes.
The legal counsel expatiated: "We realized there was no standard operation manual. No harmonised system that showed how the process should work. Whenever there is room for discretion, there is room for abuse. And you know, in line with the federal government position on the ease of doing business, we need to know the rules and procedures so that people are prepared for the processes in order not to get trapped along the way.
"More than 50 percent of the litigation are as a result of recertification. You cannot revoke somebody's land because he did not come for recertification".
Umar further stated that many problems responsible for the high number of court cases were discovered, some of which include multiple allocation, land racketeering, unverifiable data and parity in what is was on the paper and what was on the groun, among several others.
According to the Legal Counsel, the FCTA took steps to comprehensively tackle the myriad of land issues by organising a retreat for relevant stakeholders, including legal officers, rejuvenated its land use allocation committee and took a position that land allocation would only be done after completion of engineering designs.
Speaking on the resolution of exco on recreational parks, the legal counsel warned that parks were solely for recreation not places for selling alcohol as it was currently the case with most parks in Abuja.
According to him, parks remained the property of government and were only leased for a period of 30 years, regretting that people have taken advantage of parks to grab land.
He also warned that park operators are doing so at their own risk because the administration has decided to fully correct the wrongs of the past.