FCTA commences demolition of illegal structures

By The Citizen

The Federal Capital Territory Administration on Friday commenced the demolition of illegal structures at Chikakore Layout, Kubwa, Abuja.

The demolition began 72 hours after Justice Yusuf Halilu of the Abuja High Court dismissed the suit filed by residents of the layout.

Old, new and ongoing structures were pulled down during the exercise amidst wailing and lamentation by the residents.

The residents had sued the FCT Minister, the FCDA and Bwari Area Council, praying the court to restrain the defendants from reallocating their plots.

They had also urged the court to compel the defendants to conclude the re-certification of their plots which were allocated to them by Bwari Area Council.

But Halilu, on Feb. 5, ruled that area councils in the FCT had no authority to allocate land.

'The issue of deemed grant, which is a product of the Land Use Act, was deliberately made inapplicable to lands within the FCT.

'It is also clear from the position of the FCT Act that all lands in the FCT vest absolutely on the Federal Government of Nigeria, who through the FCT Minister, grants right of occupancy to residents, Halilu said.

Halilu dismissed the said suit, saying that it was lacking in merit.

The Head of Public Relations, Department of Development Control, Mr Kalu Emetu, said the residents of Chikakore should be aware that area councils in the FCT had no authority to allocate land.

'The plots in Chikakore have been in dispute for some years and when we initially moved to demolish them, the residents got a court order restraining us.

'Now, after hearing all sides, the court has amplified what we have been saying, that the FCT Minister is the only one authorised to allocate plots'', Emetu said.

He added that the department will be compelled to halt the demolition if the residents had produced evidence that they had appealed the judgment in a higher court. NAN