· FCTA issues 2, 979 demand notice
By Laraba MUREY
Property owners in Asokoro and Maitama Districts of the Federal Capital Territory, are responsible for about 20 percent of the total outstanding ground rents debts owed the FCT Administration.
Figures released by the FCT Administration over the weekend, indicate that property owners in their areas owe the administration ground rents to the tune of N3,197,148,997.48.
Recall that the FCT permanent secretary, Mr. Adesola Olusade, in June inaugurated a debt recovery committee with the mandate to recover the outstanding debts in ground rents and other sundry fees in other land related departments.
Since then, the administration has taken steps toward recovering these debts by filing cases against the violators in courts.
The cases are being prosecuted in batches beginning with the two highbrow areas of Asokoro and Maitama Districts, respectively.
The FCT Director, Information and communication, Muhammad Sule, said 1,504 and 1,475 demand notices meant for Asokoro and Maitama Districts, amounting to 2,979, have been served on the defaulting titleholders in these districts through courier services.
Sule, who also serves as the chairman, media and publicity sub-committee, said several cases are already pending in the courts, as the administration filed the cases seeking the court to either compel the debtors to pay the debts or forfeit their property to the government.
He said “government has taken this path to make it clear to titleholders in the FCT that it is no longer business as usual, because this time around, the FCT Administration is ready to recover all its outstanding funds.”
Earlier, the FCTA had placed litigation caveat on the affected properties whose cases are already in courts to tighten all loose ends and restrict transactions on such property, including illegal transfer of ownership.
The director also added that the FCTA will be seeking a special court to try the debtors.
“The Co-ordinating Committee on the Recovery of Outstanding Ground Rent and Other Related Charges in the FCT, therefore, appeals to the FCT Judiciary, to support the FCT Administration’s drive to recover the debts owed it by designating some Magistrates and High Courts in the FCT as special courts to handle the cases. This is to ensure speedy dispensation of justice.
“The government 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. Government commenced the prosecution of the defaulting titleholders after several appeals from the FCT Administration for them to pay their debts fell on deaf ears.
“The government is in court to seek for an order to compel debtors to clear their debts or forfeit the affected property, since they are recalcitrant in paying the debt, despite several warnings.”