FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, has inaugurated a Taskforce on issuance of Certificates of Occupancy (Cs-of-O) for mass housing and the recovery of land use contravention fees.
Performing the inauguration in his office on Tuesday, Wike explained that the move was to ensure that each of the houses in mass housing and estates have separate C of O and it is paid for.
The Minister lamented that virtually all residential areas have been turned to commercial; adding that something would certainly be done about it.
According to him, those who contravened the Land Use Act must be rectified and pay penalties, stressing that those who have converted their approvals for residential buildings into commercial structures, and vice versa, would pay severely for it.
His words: “So, there must be a recertification and there must be penalties.”
“The only way people can be deterred from doing this is to make sure that we discourage them and discouraging them means that if you want to build, you have a penalty to pay, and that penalty must be severe,” he added.
“In as much as we want to generate revenue, we also want to control the development of areas,” Wike insisted.
“Abuja has to go back to the original Master Plan. If there is need to have some amendment, it is the government that will do such amendment, it is not for the allottees to do so on their own,” he stressed.
He said: “Part of the problem we are having is the agencies -Development Control is part of the problem; the Land Registry is part of the problem; Abuja Geographic Information Systems is part of the problem. That is why they are part of the Taskforce to face the problem they have caused and solve the problem. No outsider will do it.”
“So, you must be diligent. Of course, you know, I will monitor what you are doing, and this assignment will not last more than one month from today.”
The Minister directed the Taskforce to open two dedicated bank accounts for the assignment: one for non-compliance with the contravention of Land Use and the other for the Certificates of Occupancy.
He also asked the Taskforce to include people who were given land by the Area Councils but without C of O; adding that those concerned should be asked to apply and be informed about the amount to pay.
Wike explained that Abuja depends on Internally Generated Revenue to execute projects in the FCT.
“I am not interested in who did not comply and I don’t want anybody to write to me that the Taskforce came. All I need is results. I don’t want excuses,” he emphasized.
The Taskforce is chaired by Michael Chinda, Senior Special Assistant to the Minister on Lands, Urban and Regional Planning, while the Executive Secretary, Federal Capital Development Authority, Engr. Shehu Ahmad is its Secretary.
Other members of the Taskforce include the Director, Department of Development Control, Director, Department of Land Administration and the Director, Department of Surveying and Mapping.
Others are the Director, Department of Mass Housing, Director of AGIS, and Director, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, among others.
Responding on behalf of the members, Chinda expressed readiness of the Taskforce to get to work done within one month; promising not to disappoint the Minister.
He described the Certificates of Occupancy as an “indispensable requirement” for land ownership; adding that the land belongs to the government and the people using it must pay.
“We will not spare anyone that has contravened and we will do the needful.
“I can assure you that we will do this job with precision, diligence and a high level of professionalism so that we will meet your expectation and possibly exceed it,” he said.
Source: Abuja Digest