Why we demolished AIT structures— FCTA
By Henry Umoru
ABUJA— THE Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, yesterday, demolished some structures on the premises of Daar Communications, owners of Africa Independent Television, AIT, in the nation’s capital city, Abuja.
The structures removed by the FCTA were the security office, the gate and a section of the fence on the premises that was said to have hitherto encroached on other people’s property and blocked their access in Asokoro District, Abuja.
According to Director, Department of Development Control, Muktar Galadima, the parcel of land belonging to AIT was only 18 hectres, adding that the media outfit had just submitted application for building approval, which the department was still processing, meaning any development on the land remained a violation of development control rules.
Refuting insinuations that the removal was politically motivated, Galadima said the matter dates back to about 2007 and the “precast fence and gate house, which blocked other citizens’ access, were removed.”
Addressing newsmen, yesterday, Coordinator, Abuja Metropolitan Management Council, AMMC, of the FCTA, Umar Shuaibu, who supervised the removal of the alleged illegal structures, said the owners of the television outfit illegally encroached on plots of land belonging to other Nigerians.
According to him, the management of AIT had refused to abide by the mutual agreement reached with them, FCT administration and officials from Department of Development Control, DDC, of the AMMC, adding that after the removal of the illegal structures, the media outfit later expanded it without the approval of FCT administration.
Shuiabu who noted that the fact that at least five plots of land, including plots 3261, 3262, 3263, 3264 and 3265 have been unable to access their property, due to the fencing embarked upon by Daar Communications, said: “It is important to let the public know that this removal was not intended to inflict any pain on the owners of the property but rather to enable other citizens have access to their legitimate property.
“It is also a culmination of series of meetings between the Management of DAAR Communications owners of AIT and the Federal Capital Territory administration to end many years of misunderstanding.
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“Specifically, in November last year, the Management of DAAR Communications led by Chief Raymond Dokpesi paid a courtesy visit to the FCT Minister and they were received on his behalf by Chief of Staff to the FCT Minister, Bashir Mai-Borno who led the FCTA team made up of relevant directors and others in the discussions.
“The purpose of the discussions was to resolve the protracted dispute regarding the actual size of land legally allocated to DAAR Communications as against the area covered by their perimeter fence. The whole idea was for both parties to mutually agree to reach a settlement that would bring about permanent solution and forge ahead for the development of the FCT and the nation at large.
“After very fruitful deliberations on the areas of contention, each side expressed satisfaction over the new reconciliatory approach and the sincerity in reaching a logical and peaceful conclusion.
“Thereafter, both parties agreed to visit the site for an on-the-spot investigation of the area were surveyors from both parties were able to identify the problematic areas on a satellite image map, leading to a common agreement on the necessity to remove the portions of the fence that has encroached into adjoining plots of land belonging to other Nigerians.
“Indeed, at that meeting, Chief Dokpesi, expressed confidence in the ability of the current FCT administration to end the matter satisfactorily and pledged to abide by its outcome.
“Unfortunately, while everybody is happy and pleased that the issues had been resolved and in line with the commitment of both parties, DAAR Communications has been evasive in doing its part by voluntarily removing the illegal fence and other structures causing obstruction to their neighbours.”