Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Malam Muhammad Musa Bello has said that his government has stopped allocating new land to those in genuine need for it in an effort to control slums.
“We sat down and reflected and we said if we keep on opening phases and we don’t provide infrastructure, at the end of the day, we would just have pockets of slums all over the city. That’s why as an administration, we are not keen on giving land because we are not sure of when infrastructure is going to be there.”
The minister, who spoke today, Thursday, when he received in audience, the management of the National Defence College, was responding to request by the team for a piece of land to build a housing estate for its staff.
Muhammad Bello said that it would be futile for people or organizations to continue to apply and wait for land for mass housing in the already developed phases of the territory, where land allocations have fully exhausted.
He rather advised such government institutions and other private organizations seeking land for mass housing in the FCT to take advantage of the empty estates that are littered across the city and negotiate with finance houses for a suitable long term financing agreement.
According to the minister, the template of everybody getting land and starting a cooperative housing estate is no longer feasible in the FCT, adding that interested parties should identify reasonably priced houses and go into agreement with a financial institution to work out a long term financing model that should be able to meet up with their requirements.
“The reality is that getting land where infrastructure is developed partially or about to be developed is going to be increasingly difficult.
“Land is no longer available in phase 1, phase 2, phase 3, and even in some parts of phase 4 of Abuja.”
Muhammad Bello said that his administration is reviewing land allocations which was made to government institutions and other developers in the territory for mass housing purposes and that such land might revoked and reallocate to more serious contenders in the areas where no appreciable development have been.
The Minister frowned at the rapid expansion of illegal settlements in Piwoyi axis, saying that steps are being taken to discourage the negative trend.
“The villages that you see springing up there are all illegal and if we all agree that they are illegal, then it’s better for us so that we treat them as such. Normally, it’s the construction and the activity in your permanent site and all the other major institutions that are coming up there that are attracting these people.
“If we all keep quiet and we don’t do anything, they will continue to grow. But they are really not supposed to be there and they are usually people that work in your site or work for some of the other construction sites there.”
The minister commended the management of the National Defence College for working towards completing the permanent site of the college at Piwoyi.
He said that his administration will do whatever necessary to ensure that they in move as quickly as possible to a more comfortable location, adding that a number of national and multilateral agencies are waiting to take over their existing location.
Muhammadu Bello said that his administration is working towards addressing the infrastructural challenges around Piwoyi, pointing out that part of the plan is to open up that area through the relevant arterial roads that are in the Abuja Master Plan.
“As you can see, the legislative college is almost done. If you notice, you will see that the Korean Model School also is almost done. A lot of developments are going on around the area.”
Earlier, the Commandant of the National Defence College, Rear Admiral Adeniyi Osinowo said that the team was on a familiarity visit to the minister to explain what they have been doing and also raise issues for the attention of the FCT Minister.
“As our landlord, we have continued to enjoy your support and we are very grateful, particularly the relationship between the administration and the College. The College has continued to grow in strength and in terms of the scope of our activities.
“We have benefiting from all the good things the territory has offered us, particularly the physical properties we have, the permanent site is somewhere in Piwoyi and we hope in the coming years, we will relocate there fully.” [myad]