· Consent letter now required
By Sarah NEGEDU
Property owners in debt to the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, may no longer gain access to such properties as the administration has placed a caveat on the affected properties whose cases are already in courts.
The administration had in June this year set up the FCT Coordinating Committee on the Recovery of Outstanding Ground Rents with the mandate of recovering the N29,506,643,943.98 ground rents owed the FCTA.
With the caveat formally in place, tittle holders can no longer tamper with such properties especially by attempting to sell or transfer ownership, because the matter is being heard in court.
A statement by the Director, Information and Communication in the FCTA, Malam Muhammad Hazat Sule, stated that the administration will continue with the prosecution of defaulters in courts preparatory to obtaining a court order for the forfeiture of the affected properties.
Sule, who doubles as the chairman of the Media and Publicity Sub-Committee, explained that the implication of a caveat when placed on any property, “whether developed or undeveloped, and even, if ground rent fully cleared, a written application must be submitted, and approval obtained before it can be lifted.
“The FCT Administration is determined to recover all ground rent debts owed it by property owners in Abuja, and all necessary procedure will be followed to achieve this.
“Since the administration has commenced prosecution of the defaulting titleholders inspite of several appeals from the FCT Administration, the only thing that can stop the progression of this action is for the affected property owners to clear their outstanding debts.
“The government is in court to seek for an order to force debtors to clear their debts or forfeit the affected property, since they are recalcitrant in paying the debt, despite several warnings.”
He added that the administration has taken these steps to drive home the point that it is desirous of recovering the over N29 billion ground rents owed it by property owners.
It would be recalled that the FCT Permanent Secretary, Mr. Adesola Olusade, not too long ago inaugurated a debt recovery committee with the mandate to recover the outstanding debts owed the FCTA with particular interest on ground rents and other sundry fees in the Land Administration as well as other land related departments.
The administration had last in August, announced its preparedness to prosecute about 413 defaulting property owners by the end of August 2022.
The government insisted that since all entreaties have failed, it has no other option than to commence the prosecution of the first batch of the defaulting property owners.
The committee, had in August, revealed that property owners in the highbrow areas of Asokoro, Industrial Area II and Maitama Districts were the highest debtors, owing a total of N8.677874,573.92billion between them.
Property owners in Asokoro District alone are said to constitutes 10.67percent of the Ground Rents defaulters, while the titleholders in Industrial Area II and Maitama Districts comprise 9.43 percent and 9.29 percent, respectively.
Property owners in other Districts such as, Central Business Districts, Industrial Area I & Extension, as well as Wuse I & II are owing the Administration to the tune of 8.21 percent, 5.18 percent, 5.1 percent, and 4.81 percent respectively.
Title holders in Garki I & II, Katampe and Jabi Districts are in default of 3.4 percent, 3 percent, 2.21 percent, and 2.15 percent respectively.
Property owners in other districts like Kukwaba, Gwarinpa I, Gudu, Kado, Karmo, Katampe Extention, Utako, Mabushi, Durumi, Daki-Biyu, Guzape, Jahi, Dutse and Wuye are owing various degrees of percentages.