Written by Austine ELEMUE

Lokogoma: FCTA to commence demolition this week · Homeowners divided

The permanent secretary, Federal Capital Territory Administration, Sir Christian Ohaa, has told off-taker that there is no going back in the planned demolition of structures in Lokogoma estate. 

He gave this indication, last week, during a tripartite meeting between the developers of the estates, off-takers and officials of the Department of Development Control in his office. 

The visibly angry permanent secretary said he was resolved as the FCT administration would not fold its hands and allow the perennial loss of lives to continue. 

He asked the stakeholders to choose between leaving the structures and bloodletting as a result of illegal structures that block the waterways. 

Ohaa warned that buyers of property must do due diligence before buying so that they do not fall victims of illegalities like the sale of sewer and infrastructure lines. 

The permanent secretary, however assured that any staff found wanting in the allocation of plots in unauthorised positions like waterways and infrastructural lines, will be brought to book. 

The estate developers have been accused of encroaching on waterways and other infrastructural lines. 

Speaking earlier, chairman of Lokogoma Residents Association, Dr. Joseph Nnorom, said that off-takers bought their property from the developers, hoping that due diligence would have been taken into consideration. 

Nnorom said they are not against demolition, but that owners of property affected should be compensated. 

He accused the government of not properly supervising, stressing that the department in charge was not responsive but allowed structures to grow in unauthorised areas. 

Also, in his contribution Dr. Ugo Peace, representing EFAB Properties Ltd, said that they got proper allocation to embark on mass housing and that they are contributing to housing development in Nigeria. 

At a visit to the affected area, weekend, director, Department of Development Control, Mukhtar Galadima, in an interface with the residents expressed delight that the affected residents were willing to comply, though some homeowners are demanding for compensation.

Galadima stated that all was set for the planned removal of all offending structures in the coming week.

He said: "We are here because we promised to go along with the Residents Association. The whole objective is to save lives and property and we don’t pray for future occurrence of these unfortunate incidents. That’s why we are here this morning discussing with the residents association. 

"We moved from estate to estate and where we have constriction of the stream corridor, those structures identified, are going to be captured and as earlier indicated we are coming back next week for proper implementation of that removal decision". 

Reminding them of how far to move away from the waterways, Galadima said: "This corridor of 20 meters either side of the river is not just out of the blues. It’s based on standards. At the end of the day, when this district is fully serviced, you will see this corridor being laid with cables, pipes for conveyance of sewer lines, water amongst other things.

"So, it’s not just that somebody just woke up and said it must be 20/20. It’s based on engineering standards." 

Ayodele Awosika, president of Pengassan Estate 1 Residents Association which is one of the flood affected estates described the planned action by the FCTA as a welcome development, adding that residents of the estate have been facing severe incidents of flooding due to constriction on the river channel.

Another off taker, Alhaji Habeeb Abdulaziz of Blue Millenium Estate, also said: “We are very happy with the way the director of Development Control has been handling us. He has been carrying us along and he has agreed with us that this cannot be one-sided solution. It has to be a tripartite solution from the FCTA, the off takers and also from the developers. We are all here on ground and we are going round the estates together.”

 

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